Most people have no idea what COBRA means. Congress enacted the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act or COBRA to protect people in the event that they face the loss of health insurance coverage when changing jobs, after the death of the eligible employee, after divorce, or some other life altering event. COBRA is not health insurance. It is simply a law.
Once a person becomes eligible under COBRA, they have 60 days to make a decision about whether they want to continue coverage or not. If they decide they want coverage, COBRA allows them to continue coverage under their former employer group health insurance plan for up to 18 months. Premiums can be as much as three times the amount they paid while employed because the former employee is now responsible for 102% of the premium cost. Most of the time, it is prohibitively expensive. Maybe that’s why only 20% of eligible people elect to continue their health insurance benefits.
Fortunately, there are alternatives that can save people money. Health insurance agents have many different options they can present to people seeking health insurance. They are licensed professionals who are educated and experienced in dealing with healthcare insurance questions on a daily basis.
Here are just a few options that are available:
· Aetna is one of the largest insurance companies in the United States. They offer health insurance coverage in many different states. Aetna has group plans customized for the differing needs of the employers that buy group health insurance through the company. The cost and plans vary significantly depending on individual state laws and business needs. Aetna does business in the private sector as well.
· Blue Cross and Blue Shield are two names that are widely recognized around the United States. They offer health insurance to both companies and individuals. Because they are nonprofit companies, the rates are usually much more competitive than those offered by other companies.
· Short-term health insurance can be a very viable alternative for those who are in between jobs. Often, people are without insurance for only a brief period of time. Once they get a new job, they will be eligible to enroll in the group health care plan offered by their new employer. Short-term health care insurance is sold by many different companies and can be purchased by individuals through an independent health insurance agent. Coverage on these plans is usually very affordable, but does have its limititations.
Obviously, people need to seek the services of a professional licensed health insurance agent that does business in their state. They can provide free quotes and valuable information to help people make the right health care decisions relevant to their own unique situations.