Dealing With COBRA Health Insurance After the Healthcare Reform

It’s a great source of interest to anyone who has recently been laid off, or expects to be soon one day – will the new health-care reform help you, or work against you? The mandatory COBRA health insurance program – will there be any changes? How much will it cost and how long can you have it?

Well basically the good news is that the COBRA health insurance coverage you always had, you still do; you certainly aren’t deprived of anything; but there are certain areas where things get a little better. It’s kind of complicated though. Basically, you get your COBRA coverage benefits for any year and a half. The health-care reform originally included coverage beyond that; but they couldn’t pass the law with this, and they cut it down to only 18 months.

COBRA health insurance has always been a kind of bridge program. If you are out of a job, it helps you stay on your former employer’s coverage until you find a new job. The problem is, you don’t get a job as quickly these days as he used to, and 18 months don’t seem to last as much. There was this story on the news the other day – a skilled manual worker at a car parts plant in New York was laid off about one year ago. She knows she has until December before her COBRA health insurance expires. Her unemployment benefits will end too. She isn’t quite 65 yet, and Medicare isn’t an option for a couple more years. She gets by on the payments she gets from her husband’s Social Security benefits, and healthwise, her only hope is the community clinic in her area.

For anyone who can afford to buy state government-sponsored insurance, you really need to do that right away. If you have COBRA health insurance on the independent open market, you are guaranteed coverage even with a preexisting condition. But you need to make sure that you don’t let your COBRA expire before you go shopping. Or else, they could deny you coverage because of your preexisting condition. If you don’t have one, you’ll probably get a very good deal for being healthy and for being someone coming out of COBRA. The important thing here though is to make sure that you don’t let your COBRA expire before you go looking for an alternative.

If the cost seems a little of the high side, you could try to put your cfhild on another plan.Insure your child under your state’s CHIP program. If you make enough that you don’t qualify for Medicaid, but you’re not quite rich enough to buy private health insurance for yor child, you’ve got your CHIP for another five years.