All About COBRA Health Insurance

November 25, 2020 17:50 newlambertagency

COBRA health insurance or Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is an insurance program that gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue the health benefits.

Created in 1985, COBRA allows individuals who experience a job loss or other qualifying event the option to continue their current health insurance coverage for a limited amount of time.

It is generally provided by employers outside the federal government with more than 20 employees.

How do you qualify for COBRA health insurance?

You can avail COBRA benefits only in certain situations that are called ‘qualifying events’.

You’re eligible for COBRA if,

  1. You were employed and covered under an employer’s group health plan.
  2. You were laid off, fired, retired, or quit, or had your work hours cut to the point that your employer is no longer required to cover you under a group health plan.

As a dependent,

  1. If you are a dependent of someone who qualifies for COBRA based on the above, you may be eligible, too.
  2. If you are a spouse who divorces or files for legal separation from the employee, you may qualify.
  3. A spouse of an employee who dies may also get COBRA coverage.

How does it work?

As already mentioned, COBRA insurance extends your health plan coverage when an employer’s plan ends.

Your insurance carrier is required to include COBRA rights information in your plan documents when you initially enroll. Your employer, your insurance carrier, or both will give you information on COBRA coverage.

After your insurance benefits end due to any of the reasons mentioned earlier, you will have 60 days to decide whether you want to continue your health coverage under COBRA. If you don’t approve it, your health coverage will end on the day that your employer’s plan coverage ended.

If you elect to continue coverage under COBRA, it will start the day after your employer’s plan coverage ends. The COBRA continuation coverage will offer the same benefits you had under your employer’s group plan. This means that you can see the same providers and follow all existing plan details.

COBRA coverage may last for 18 or 36 months depending on the type of qualifying event that made you eligible in the first place.

The coverage may be terminated if you don’t pay your premiums or other fees for coverage. It can also be terminated if you get a new job that offers health insurance coverage.

COBRA can be extremely beneficial for you as it covers the same benefits your employer’s health plan covered you for. However, it does not cover supplemental coverage, such as disability, life insurance, hospital care insurance, or other types of voluntary coverage

Buying Private Health Insurance

November 18, 2020 09:13 newlambertagency

If your workplace or employer doesn’t offer you health insurance, then the obvious choice is to buy private health insurance.

If you’re planning to insure yourself, you need to keep in mind that you’ll have to pay the full cost of the premiums. Thus it is natural to be concerned about how the cost of life insurance will affect you financially.

Fortunately, there are different options and prices available to you based on the level of coverage you need.

Since your employer is not providing you with the insurance benefits, the process of buying private health insurance seems more complicated than simply selecting a company plan and having the premium payments come straight out of your paycheck every month.

Here are some tips that could help you:

How Buying Private Health Insurance Works

You can get insurance by enrolling in a group health insurance plan through your employers. Medicare and Medicaid also provide health care coverage to many Americans.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older while Medicaid is a public assistance healthcare program for low-income Americans regardless of their age.

However, you cannot buy private insurance directly from the state or federal government. If you are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid and if your company does not offer an employer-sponsored plan, then you have the option of purchasing insurance policies from private insurance companies or through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

But how would you know that you need private health insurance?

Here are some scenarios when you might need them:

If you’re unemployed

If you’re currently unemployed or have lost your job, then obviously you have no insurance support from anyone. But you may be eligible to maintain coverage through your employer’s health insurance plan with the help of a program called the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). COBRA allows eligible employees and their dependents the option to continue health insurance coverage when an employee loses their job or experiences a reduction of work hours

Self-employed

If you’re self-employed, you need to buy your health insurance naturally. However, you can be insured through your spouse’s plan. But if you’re not married, then you must consider buying private health insurance on your own.

If you’re 26 or older

It’s true that under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), young people can be covered as dependents by their parents’ health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old.  But after that, you must seek out your insurance policy.

If you retire

When you retire, you will likely no longer be eligible for employer-sponsored health insurance. If you are under 65 and not disabled, you will need to purchase individual private health insurance until you turn 65 and can apply for Medicare.

If you find yourself in one of the above situations and lack health insurance coverage, it’s important to enroll in an individual plan as soon as possible. So, do your research or consult an agent who can help you choose the best plan that benefits you and your family.