Some people see the word COBRA and think the subject is a snake in Africa. Actually, COBRA is an acronym that is short for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. This is a law that was enacted by Congress in the 80s to protect a person’s right to continue group health insurance coverage sponsored by a former employer. The law allows an eligible person to pay for health insurance through the thatsponsored their former employer employee benefit plans for up to 18 months.
People often get sticker shock when they hear the amount they will have to pay if they choose to continue coverage through their former employers’ group medical insurance plan. Often, people may pay as much as three times the amount they paid while working. Because it is so expensive, only 20% of eligible people choose to continue coverage. This leaves them uninsured and vulnerable to significant economic damage in the event that they or their family members suffer a medical catastrophe. The cost of health care is so expensive that one hospitalization can bankrupt a person.
The alternative to COBRA sponsored plans is a private medical insurance plan. In order to buy a private medical insurance policy, a person must contact a medical insurance agent. Using a health insurance agent offers an individual a chance for a free quote, a free health insurance cost comparison, and beneficial advice about their medical options. Insurance agents also act as liaisons between the individual and the medical insurance company. In cases where there are questions or problems, insurance agents are often able to help their customer. This offers the consumer a valuable ally.
Finding the right agent can be an intimidating task. How can a person find a suitable health insurance agent they can trust? Here are a few things for people to consider as they look for a health insurance agent who can provide them with the affordable medical insurance that works for them:
· Get a referral. One of the best ways to find a good agent is to get a referral from someone who is a friend. This will help take some of the anxiety out of the process and will make it more likely that a person can find a reliable agent to help them.
· Most states require insurance agents to get continuing education to maintain their licenses. Agents who go above and beyond for their clients are evident by the number of letters after their names. People can look for abbreviations such as AAI which means that the agent has taken the time to become knowledgeable about the insurance business. This is the type person who will make a good insurance agent.
· People should find someone with whom they are comfortable. Interviewing an agent may sound strange but it is a good idea to set up a meeting to ask questions. In fact, it is the best way to evaluate someone. Conversations over the phone do not always accomplish this objective.
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