If you have left your job and have been getting your health insurance through COBRA, this is just another friendly reminder that while COBRA is a good, relatively affordable option for health insurance, it’s still only temporary. if you can find other health insurance, it’s usually a good idea to switch to more permanently health insurance sooner rather than later.
Generally, COBRA allows people who leave their job to keep their health insurance through their former employer for 18 months, as long as they pay the full health insurance premium plus an administration fee or 2-3%. Because employer group health insurance rates are usually lower than what individuals can buy on their own on the health insurance market, COBRA is usually one of the more affordable options for health insurance if you lose your job.
However, the downside is if you have a medical emergency while you are on COBRA or if you develop a chronic condition during that time, you can really end up in a health insurance bind. any conditions or medical issues will almost certainly be counted as pre-existing conditions. And, as anyone with a pre-existing condition can tell you, trying to find health insurance when you already have a condition can be extremely difficult if not impossible.
What To Do for Health Insurance if your COBRA Health Insurance Subsidy is Expiring
If you are on health insurance through COBRA and haven’t been able to find another job with health insurance benefits, don’t panic! You do have some options for health insurance.
Here are some of your most likely health insurance options:
• Private Health Insurance. if you are young and healthy, you can probably find an individual health insurance policy that covers your healthcare needs and is more affordable than health insurance through COBRA.
• State “Mini-COBRA.” 40 states offer so-called “Mini-COBRA” programs which supplement the main federal COBRA benefits. Mini-COBRA can provide additional health insurance benefits for up to 36 months but can also be an expensive option.
• Medicaid. if you are a low-income American, you may qualify for health insurance coverage through Medicaid.
• State High-Risk Health Insurance Pools. if you have a pre-existing condition and are turned down for private health insurance, you may be eligible for your state high-risk health insurance pool.
• Federal Pre-Existing Condition Health Insurance Pools (PCIPs). The federal pre-existing condition health insurance plans are another option if you already have a pre-existing condition. The PCIPs are usually both more affordable and more comprehensive in coverage than the state high-risk pools. Unfortunately, in order to qualify for a federal pool, you must have been uninsured for at least six months.
• The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Even if you are unable to afford health insurance for yourself, your children may qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (usually called “CHIP”).
Have you been using COBRA for your health insurance? Tell us about it!
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