What To Do When COBRA Health Insurance Runs Out.
When losing access to health insurance benefits from a job, many people opt to continue on their company’s health insurance plan through COBRA. Most health insurance experts usually advise against using COBRA benefits to maintain health insurance as they tend to be expensive. Under the COBRA laws you are entitled to keep the same level of coverage that you had under your former employer, as long as your dismissal fits with the qualifications of the program. However there is no law that requires that the health insurance coverage be given to the individual at the same rate. Once your employers contribution is removed, many people receive “sticker shock” when they see how expensive COBRA benefits actually are. It is at that time that most come to realize what a benefit, their employer provided health insurance benefits really were.
Still for some, COBRA is the only option and for a variety of reasons they have elected to keep going with COBRA health insurance. But Cobra benefits only last for a limited period, usually up to 18 months maximum. So for those that have elected COBRA coverage the question becomes “what do I do if I am still unemployed, or still do not otherwise have health insurance when those run out?”
Once you no longer qualify for COBRA benefits it is important that you obtain private health insurance as soon as possible. In fact the time to start looking for affordable private health insurance is before your COBRA benefit period actually ends. It is important accordion to health insurance experts that you do not have a break in coverage. Without a break in coverage you cannot be turned down by most health insurance plans for pre-existing conditions.
If while you were on COBRA benefits you have been actively seeking employment, and feel that the time is imminent when you will again be on a job that offers company group health insurance benefits, then your best option for low cost individual health insurance would be temporary health insurance. These short term health insurance polices, also known as Gap Insurance” are actually the most affordable health benefits you can find. A healthy individual could get a short term health insurance policy with good coverage and a relatively low deductible, for less than $100.00 month. The only catch is such policies are only available for short term, usually 6 months to a year, and they are not renewable.
If a short-term health insurance policy is not right for you, there are still many more options for affordable private health insurance then you might think. If you are self-employed, many of the top health insurance companies in the nation such as Blue Cross Blue Shield have been designing health insurance plans and programs specifically for self-employed individuals and small business owners. These same health insurance companies have been making a concerted effort to provide all individuals with more affordable healthcare insurance options. High Deductible Consumer Driven Health Plans are just one way these companies are making healthcare insurance more accessible to more people.