COBRA is a law that protects you and your family if you lose your employer-sponsored health benefits. It can help you maintain coverage while you are in transition. COBRA allows you to keep the same coverage and the same physicians.
If you qualify for COBRA coverage, then you have the option of continuing your employer-sponsored health plan for a limited period of time (18-36 months.) COBRA can provide important protection for people who have pre-existing medical conditions. You should carefully consider COBRA coverage if you or a member of your family are currently pregnant, have a pre-existing health conditions, are taking prescription medications, or have been declined for private health insurance.
However, if you and your family are relatively healthy, you may be able to purchase a comparable individual or family health insurance plan for a lot less money. In addition, since COBRA coverage is available to the unemployed, your lower income status may make your children under age 18 eligible for a low-cost government –subsidized program. MI-Child is a health insurance program for uninsured children of Michigan’s working families.
As a consumer, you need to know your COBRA strategy.
Consider continuing COBRA if:
- You are pregnant or plan to become pregnant within the COBRA coverage period
- You have a pre-existing medical condition
- You are taking prescription medications, need to undergo a medical procedure in the near future, or need extensive medical care
- You have recently been declined for private health insurance
Options after COBRA:
- HIPAA. Once a person has exhausted COBRA benefits or the company plan expires. i.e. the company goes out-of-business or discontinues the health plan, you may be eligible for an individual plan under the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability ACT), even with pre-existing health conditions. For more information, contact the state Department of Insurance.
Consider purchasing an individual/family plan if
- You are in relatively good health
- The COBRA option is too expensive
- You are seeking health insurance coverage beyond the COBRA term (typically 18 months)
You can Mix & Match:
- Mix and match your COBRA coverage with individual and public sponsored alternatives. For example:
- If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you can choose COBRA coverage for yourself but find a less expensive individual plan for your spouse and a public sponsored program for your children.
We can assist with questions you may have regarding your health insurance. Call us at (800) 220-5582 or visit us at www.ipsagency.com for a free quote on Michigan health insurance.
Source: Foundation for Health Coverage Education