What to Do If You Are About to Forfeit Your Federal COBRA Grant

The COBRA Extended Subsidy, which temporarily covers 100% of your unemployment premiums, ends October 1 . The program allows you to keep your former employer’s health plan for at least 18 months, but you usually have to cover the full cost, which is too expensive for many people. After the subsidy ends, you may be looking for a cheaper alternative, so consider the options.

Why No Subsidy COBRA Program Isn’t So Good

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, allows you to continue with your employer’s health coverage if you or a member of your family has reduced working hours or involuntarily lost your job for up to 18 months (or 36 months in some cases). …

The idea is to provide temporary coverage until you find a new job with coverage or sign up for a new policy elsewhere. While this sounds great in theory, these group plans are usually heavily subsidized by the employer an average of 83% of the cost . This means that the average cost for individuals is about $ 623 per month, which you will pay if you are unemployed . After the temporary 100% subsidy ends, you may have to look elsewhere for coverage.

So what other health care options are available?

If you are participating in the COBRA program, your former employer must send you a letter by September 15th notifying you that the grant ends October 1st. By law, the letter must also state what your monthly billing will be without a subsidy. …

If it is too expensive, you are eligible for a special registration period on the Affordable Care Act marketplace for 60 days after you receive the change notice. You can apply for coverage from the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace – when prompted, state “loss of coverage” as your reason for claiming (more information on applying can be found here ).

The good news is that Obamacare is a good option right now, as subsidies have appeared recently that bring premiums for Bronze and Silver plans down to $ 0 per month , assuming you were unemployed.

When you apply, depending on your income and the state in which you live, you may also be eligible for Medicaid , which exempts or subsidizes most personal expenses such as deductibles and copays. For more information on applying for health insurance in general, visit healthcare.gov .

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