Cobra Benefits: Do You Know Everything You Should?
Things You Need to Know About Cobra
If you are laid off, fired, or voluntarily leave a job where you have previously had medical benefits, then you should know about Cobra. Healthcare can take a lot of money out of your pocket, and Cobra benefits can help individuals who suddenly find themselves unemployed and uninsured.
What is Cobra?
Cobra actually stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Cobra allows individuals who meet certain criteria to continue their health coverage when they lose it. Individuals have up to sixty days to elect Cobra coverage after quitting a job or being fired, and that coverage is retroactive to the date their previous medical benefits ended.
More about Cobra
The fact is that many people simply aren’t aware of their ability to elect Cobra benefits before their employment is terminated. Because you can retroactively elect coverage up to sixty days after you leave or are terminated from employment, you don’t have to initiate coverage immediately -- particularly if you know will begin coverage with a new employer within that time frame.
Your employer is required by law to inform you of your Cobra benefits prior to exiting the company. This is traditionally done in an exit interview process established by the HR department of the company. Although they are required to inform you prior to exiting, their explanations may not be extremely clear.
Cobra Isn’t Free
Keep in mind that it is generally going to be cheaper for you to elect coverage through Cobra than it is for you to elect coverage on your own, but Cobra is not necessarily cheap. Many of us are simply not aware of how much healthcare can cost particularly if our employer pays a portion of our premiums.
Medical coverage such as Cobra can certainly be expensive, but the medical bills that can result if you need medical treatment while you are not covered can be much more substantial. Because of this, Cobra coverage is a wise investment until you can find employment (and health coverage) elsewhere.