Friday, January 16, 2009

COBRA and health insurance options

It is OK so long as you are employed. Cost on employees in 2008 for COBRA (not the snake, but the health insurance coverage) was an average of 16% individual premium coverage and an average of 27% for family coverage. But once you get the pink slip, that is, if you get fired, and your employer drops their share, your payments could soar. Costs for an individual could reach $4,656 per year and the full cost for family coverage could be $12,823, or about $1,069 per month. I know this amount is staggering, and something must be done.

So what are your options? Should you start searching for insurance quote now? Well, you could:

1. If you get the pink slip, check if could be included in your spouse coverage. This option is likely the cheapest you could have.
2. Check if your kids can get under public health programs like Medicaid or SCHIP. If they can, you can opt for a COBRA just for you and your spouse, and probably get a cheaper premium.
3. Check for options; search the internet for cheaper coverage, if you can find one.
4. Search for health centers in your community that offer care on a sliding scale based on income. This could be an option if you cannot get any insurance anywhere.

PS: You should sign up for COBRA ASAP because according to the Department of Labor the option to sign up for COBRA lasts only for 60 days from the time your employer notified you about it.