Loosing Group Coverage – COBRA or Individual Health Plan
The Affordable Care Act and changes for COBRA that you need to be aware of before you take the easy route and make your first COBRA payment. The laws have changes some with respect to COBRA. If you do make your first months COBRA payment, then they expect you to stay on that plan until you exhaust COBRA or hit an annual enrollment period. A loss of group coverage does give you a “Qualifying Life Event” that will allow you to enroll in an individual plan. My advice to my customers is to compare your COBRA options to the Individual Plan options either on the Healthcare.gov website or just direct from the carriers. There is no reason to enroll through Healthcare.gov unless you have a need for subsidized plan or you are getting additional benefits from them for being a Native American.
We would suggest working with a broker who will be able to advise you and help you compare coverages. Depending on your needs in a health plan and cost I have advised some of my customers that COBRA may be the best option. Other customers who have less needs can find ways to save on premiums with other individual options. Brokers will be able to guide you to find the best options for your health plan and RX needs.
Just know that if you pay one payment to COBRA you are stuck with it until the next open enrollment period. This is much different than it was in the past as we could drop COBRA at any time and enroll in an individual plan. So if you in the situation of looking at COBRA it is a good thing to compare your options before the commitment. The Affordable Care Act has added some twists to how health insurance works. Let a broker help you find the best solution for your particular needs.
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