Important Components of Cobra Health Insurance

Jennifer Hrycyk asked:

In today’s economy, there is very little job security. Unfortunately, one of the secondary effects of losing your job is that you lose your health coverage as well. Thankfully there are programs in place that can extend your health coverage for up to 18 months following a termination, career change, or even retirement.

COBRA insurance was enacted into a law to protect you from losing your healthcare in scenarios such as getting fired or laid off. Officially known as the Consolidation Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, it is designed to provide medical insurance coverage for employees and their families even after they’ve severed ties with their employer. People must also understand that COBRA is a law, not an insurance package.

Before COBRA medical insurance was enacted to cover medical needs of terminated employees, the group health plans of terminated workers and those who changed employers were immediately cancelled. With the advent of COBRA insurance, employees who have been fired or laid off will receive 18 months of medical coverage of the same health insurance policies their employers gave them.

However, the benefits of COBRA medical insurance are available only as a group plan and not as individual health coverage. You need to be a part of a health plan group of 20 or more employees for you to be eligible to apply for COBRA medical insurance policies.

The Price of COBRA Health Insurance

The price of a COBRA policy is also significantly higher than the total price of the medical insurance policy bought by your employer. The total cost of a COBRA insurance package is the total amount of your group healthcare plan plus 2% administrative fees. COBRA is more expensive than other group plans, but also provides peace of mind knowing that your family or individual health coverage plan is extended to cover you or your family in case of emergencies or severe health issues.

What makes COBRA unique from other forms of medical and health insurance plans is that COBRA will continue to cover any pre-existing medical conditions that were approved and covered by your original health plan. If you happen to be afflicted with a medical condition, COBRA will cover these conditions. Other health insurance providers may not cover pre-existing conditions, potentially leaving major conditions to go untreated.

Why COBRA is a Wise Choice

There are many reasons why applying for COBRA is a wise decision. Apart from the fact that you are medically insured and covered for a period of 18 months after leaving your job, you can maintain all the benefits you once received from the same health plan insurer you had before you left your job. As mentioned before, COBRA covers any pre-existing or recent medical problems, which may not be the case with other health insurance companies.

If you lose your job and rely heavily on your health insurance plan for sharing the cost of expensive medications, applying for a COBRA policy is an excellent choice. COBRA covers the cost of prescription drugs, as well as other services such as maternity benefits and accident insurance.

Since many individuals cannot afford the COBRA option offered by their employers, there are COBRA alternatives that are designed for people who are in good health and with no pre-existing medical condition and do not need to take expensive medication. These alternatives come in the form of individual and family health plans.

While COBRA provides an opportunity for individuals to retain health care insurance, individual health coverage plans are much more reasonable as it pertains to cost.

The best thing you can do is to research your health insurance coverage options before you decide on the best health plan. It is important to make a wise decision since this health plan may be with you for a while!

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