LEAVING YOUR JOB? FIVE QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK ABOUT COBRA BENEFITS

There are so many personal losses incurred from being laid off from work. Apart from the strains on your financial health, there are other benefits you lose. These benefits are benefits offered to you by your employers because you are their employee. Hence, losing your job strips you of such benefits.

One of such benefits is a group health plan or an employer-sponsored health plan. In a bid to assist individuals in this category, the government set up the COBRA health insurance. It was created in 1985 to cater for the health insurance of both the employed, retirees, and laid-off employees.

As good as it may sound, individuals must be aware of some things about COBRA before subscribing to it. Here, we ask and answer five of such questions to enlighten you on COBRA health insurance. Click here for COBRA alternative costs.

What is the cost of COBRA health insurance?

COBRA is quite expensive because it covers 100% of the costs of your health plan. Some employers cater for the health plan of their employees. They pay a large sum of their employee’s premium health plan and deduct the remainder from their salary.

Usually, employers are responsible for 90% of the premium individual coverage and 30% for family coverage. Well,  you can avoid all of these cost with COBRA. Because COBRA caters for 100% of your premium health plan, only that it costs 5 time higher than your salary deduction.

LEAVING YOUR JOB? FIVE QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK ABOUT COBRA BENEFITS

What is the deadline for COBRA enrollment?

The deadline depends on your position. Employers and employees have different enrollment period and duration.

  • Employer: After losing your job, your employer has 44 days to deliver COBRA information. Also, if your group plan insurance coverage expires, your employer has the same 44 days to send out COBRA information. To be on the safe side, employees should keep checking in with their benefits manager after theyleave.
  • Employee: All employeesthat are eligible for COBRA have 60 days to register for it or any other planafter their benefits is over. Late enrollment does not help you save cost. COBRA policy insists that you still pay your premiums for the period inwhich you were not registered.

Note: COBRA in no waychangesthe benefits you had with your group plan. Rather itkeeps the exact benefits intact. Even if you might want to make changes, you would have to wait till the next enrollment period.

What is the coverage period for COBRA?

One thing youneed to know is that, COBRA is not permanent. It covers you for 2-3 years or even more depending on the state youare in. 

However, within this period of enjoying COBRA benefits, you are advised to find another plan. Learn more about COBRA continuation coverage.

Are there other alternatives asides COBRA after leaving my job?

Fortunately, there are several other alternatives to COBRA after leaving your job. Some of these alternatives includes partners employer-sponsored plan, health insurance market place at health.gov, professional group plan, and so on.

What makes me eligible for COBRA health insurance? If the company you work for has more than 20 employees, then you might be eligible for COBRA health insurance. Also, as an employee you must be under your employer’s group health plan.

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