COBRA may not be the only health insurance option you have if you’ve experienced a qualifying event. Chances are you can find coverage through other alternatives, like individual or family plans, that will cover you and your family at a fraction of the cost of COBRA.
Do a little homework before making your coverage decision. You may find you have some less-expensive options, such as:
Congratulations on your new job! Does your new employer offer benefits? If so, you may be able to opt for coverage under your new employer’s plan.
Depending on the plan rules, there may be a short period of time when you are without coverage. If you can’t go without coverage, you can elect COBRA for this brief span of time. Or you can purchase a short-term medical plan.
If your spouse has a job, you may be able to get coverage under their employer’s plan, even if your spouse isn’t covered by the plan right now. A federal law known as HIPAA mandates that group health plans provide special enrollment rights to individuals under certain circumstances. These special enrollment rights allow eligible individuals to enroll in the plan without having to wait until the plan’s next open enrollment period.
Are you younger than age 26? If so, you may be able to get coverage as a dependent under your parent’s plan. Health care reform acts passed in 2010 require that group health plans offer coverage to “young adult” dependents up to age 26.
Many people find an individual or family plan (IFP) is a better option than COBRA. While the benefits of an IFP may be less substantial than the benefits offered by an employer-sponsored group health plan, the rates are often much more affordable.
Be aware when purchasing individual insurance that companies selling individual health insurance typically require a review of your medical history. This review can result in a higher premium or you could be denied coverage entirely.
Please Note: Health care reform changed a rule called “guaranteed issue,” and that change means adults and children can’t be denied health coverage regardless of their age, health status, or gender. And in most states, the amount charged for an IFP won’t increase.
With so many insurance options to choose from, how can you be sure you’re making the right coverage choice? You may find it helpful to work with a trusted resource – one that can help you make sense of it all. Turn to our Simply Covered program.
We’re here to help! With Simply Covered, you have free, no-obligation access to licensed benefits advisors who can:
This service is provided at no cost to you. Get started today by visiting the Simply Covered website.
Many states offer programs for low-income individuals and families. These programs can help you pay for coverage, or in some cases, pay for your medical bills on your behalf. Each program has its own eligibility requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for benefits through the program. You can find more information at your state’s Department of Insurance website.