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COBRA

Updated 10/05/2016

   COBRA is an insurance program which may be
   available through your former employer if you
   benefits.  Changes in the Healthcare Marketplace
   have changed what COBRA may mean for you.
   You should consider looking at a COBRA offer.


  THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN' 

Around the mid-2010's and before, COBRA was an expensive option to obtain continuation of insurance coverage for you and/or your family and many did not consider it for those reasons.  Then came the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).

What was a concern of many has now been realized.  Older people who chose or were required for various reason to elect the Affordable Care Act policies faced high costs thus high expenses on the program finances.  Younger, more healthy members, elected to pay the penalty (not a tax) to avoid taking the coverage.  As a result fewer dollars entered the program than was expected while expenses ran higher than anticipated.  This created shortfalls for insurance companies who are electing to withdraw from the program.  Additionally the rising costs over prior years required increases in premiums which impacted revenues from people opting to drop out which drove premiums higher.  The Affordable Care Act, one can argue, is no longer affordable to anyone.

Then you have COBRA.  In 2016, COBRA rates may be very competitive with the Affordable Care Act programs but offer a more robust benefits package.

Before you pass on COBRA, compare prices and packages.

NOTE:      There is the Healthcare Marketplace which allows you to select from a
a variety of providers.  Many will offer low cost solutions but, in the end,
inform you that your selected package does NOT comply with the Affordable Care Act thus you are subject to the PENALTY.

There is also the problem that some of these groups are difficult to identify who they are as many are "boiler rooms" of "licensed agents" helping you with your needs.  In some cases policies are written in advance of the requested date and not even within the same month.  A
lack of detail, little specific information, and clear errors raises concerns
about the legitimacy of some of these operators.

You do have, under the law, the right to cancel any part of the entire offering you select within 30 days at NO COST OR PENALTY - FULL REFUNDS WILL BE MADE.  You may have to call people repeatedly to get the refund but it is due you.  You should receive full written information on your selections within 1 to 2 weeks.  From reports, this often happens in the 3rd week leaving limited time to review and investigate the offering before your options to cancel are no longer available.

When taking coverage, you are required to answer specific questions with specific answers given to you by the provider over the telephone which is recorded.  Failure to use those words or introduce additional words is cause to restart the recording.  There is little reason to believe this recording is to protect you.

There is also the "second wave" as your initial request for information made by calling a toll-free number seems to linger as an active request despite having taken out a policy ... for months.  Companies clearly from outside the United States offer you coverage raising additional questions.

There is a clear advantage in being able to retain the coverage you and your family had especially if the cost difference is little or potentially, today, at a lower cost.

The Affordable Care Act is not the program that was portrayed.