The unemployment rate is heading up to 10% if you believe the crystal balls of many of the government analysts. Many already have and sadly, many will be losing or lost their jobs. COBRA insurance can help.
COBRA insurance isn’t actually insurance at all but instead a law that says that your company must offer you health insurance should you lose your job. On the surface this sounds like great news doesn’t it? There’s a catch to this. A big catch. While your employer has to offer you health insurance, they don’t have to pay for it.
That falls on you and often it’s expensive. If you pay less than $500 per month for COBRA insurance, you’re lucky. If you hadn’t lost your job, paying your own insurance may be inconvenient, to the unemployed, it is nearly impossible especially with your unemployment check being, maximum, 50% of your salary.
Many people haven’t heard the good news about this. As part of the stimulus actions by the Federal Government, as of March 1st, 2009, they are subsidizing the cost of COBRA insurance. You are only going to pay for 35% of the entire amount! That should make you jump up and down. If you do the math, this is a huge savings.
You only have 60 days from the time you were laid off so make sure you apply as soon as possible. Also, understand this insurance doesn’t last indefinitely. You only get coverage for 18 months from the time you lost your job. Under the stimulus plan you can get additional coverage. It’s important that you talk to your human resources department (you will have to continue dealing with them if you lose your job) or go to the government website to read about your rights.
Good news isn’t it? Most people don’t know about this but now you do. If you know somebody who has lost their job, make sure you give them this valuable information.