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Cobra alternatives for the temporarily unemployed

Armen Hareyan's picture

The day one gets fired, they get handed a document for COBRA and must instantly go in their pocket and pay hundreds of dollars for their own health insurance. Similarly, many college graduates wont find a job, and the day they graduated, they were dropped from their parents’ health insurance policies. What options exist for those who cant afford to spend hundreds of dollars ?

“Most people aren’t aware of limited medical coverage – one of the fastest-growing healthcare segments in the country – and it remains largely untapped by traditional health insurance companies”, says Steve Trattner Chief Marketing Officer of Cinergy Health.

Programs exist which keeps costs low with no deductible, and consumers can get more coverage (five doctor’s visits, three lab tests, one preventative test, etc.) on a as compared to a traditional health insurance program.

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"Those who have been involuntarily terminated from their jobs, and have the opportunity to continue the employer-sponsored health insurance through COBRA, the good news is that The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides for a 65% subsidy on the premiums they would have to pay until the end of the year. That’s a big savings considering that previously you would have been responsible for 102% of the premium. But if your former employer does not offer health insurance or if they have gone out of business then COBRA is not offered. However, there are other options which exist," said Steve Trattner, CMO of Cinergy Health, a health insurance solutions provider.

"For children, we suggest looking into into your state’s Children Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP). SCHIPS are jointly funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and state governments administered and by the state. This program provides health insurance coverage to uninsured children under the age of 19 usually on a sliding scaled based on household income and eligibility varies by state. Additionally, to minimize your premium and still get the essential insurance coverage you need until you are covered through your next job, consider limited medical benefit plans. These offer a terrific short term option. Cinergy Health is receiving thousands of calls from people that are between jobs and need a plan to cover their basic healthcare needs until they have an employer that will kick in down the road.

The most important thing to remember is that you must avoid going more than 63 days without health insurance coverage once you lose your group insurance plan. Once you pass 63 days, the new insurance plan will impose a waiting period on your pre-existing medical conditions. But if you apply within that window of 63 days, HIPAA qualified plans cannot impose a waiting period on benefits," added Trattner.

More information on Cinergy Health is available at (800) 847-9151.