Given that New Hampshire and the country is still trying to recover from the largest recession since World War II, many NH residents have lost their job. This not only means a loss of income, but also benefits including health insurance. As a trusted health and life insurance adviser for the last 22 years, and current Director of the Life and Health Insurance division for Holt Proctor McBriarty Insurance Agency in Milford, I have consulted many individuals on how to best handle this difficult situation.
In this blog, I would like to educate the public about a lesser-known detail regarding what is available to a newly laid-off individual.
I’m losing my employer provided Health Insurance! What are my options? Where will I get affordable coverage?
First, you need to know a few things about the federal law known as COBRA which allows you to remain on your former employer’s plan at your own expense.
I’ve heard COBRA is expensive, so how much will it cost me?
The cost will be the same as what your employer currently pays for the coverage, with the option of your employer to add 2% for administrative costs. Employer group plans are often more expensive than individual, non-group coverage, but more about that later.
How much time do I have to decide on electing COBRA?
This is an important and potentially profitable subject so pay attention!! You have 60 days (by law) from the end date of coverage to elect to continue under COBRA. If you elect to continue then coverage is retroactively re-instated with no break. Your employer will send a letter informing you of your rights under COBRA. You do not need to respond right away, and it may be better to wait and see whether or not coverage is needed. If Insurance was not needed, no harm done. If it is needed then respond and have coverage.
A word of caution though, and that is if you are in an accident or have a condition that does not allow you to physically contact your former employer to activate the coverage within the 60 days, then you would be left un-insured. You are definitely rolling the dice, but as long as you have the information you can weigh that risk and make a decision that is right for you.
What about pre-existing conditions when I get on a new plan? Isn’t it undesirable to have a break in coverage between plans?
As long as the break in coverage is no more than 63 days then pre-existing conditions must be covered right away under a new health plan. This fits in nicely with the 60 day COBRA election period, doesn’t it?
COBRA is expensive and we can’t afford it. Are there alternatives to COBRA?
There certainly are! You can get short term or permanent coverage at reasonable cost, often less than a typical COBRA premium. To learn more about Short Term Health Insurance visit www.davidtrudo.mymedquote.com. If you would like more information about high quality permanent health insurance, visit my page on Anthem Insurance by clicking here or on the Anthem logo at the bottom of our home page. You can also contact me, Dave Trudo, at 800-696-1209 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.