Does anyone know about COBRA, med. Ins.?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by laura81655, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. laura81655

    laura81655 New Member

    Hi all, there is a good chance that my husband will be forced to resign by Jan. 1 because the city of San Diego and even the Pension is in a big financial mess.

    However, the good news is that he can retire Jan. 20 because he will be 55. The bad is that I will have to get Cobra for 18 mo's. and then who know's what after that. The City will no longer cover me when he retires. Does anyone know how much Cobra could possibly run? I can't get SSDI because I haven't worked enough quarters and so far my DH makes too much money for me to collect SSI.

    If anyone has experience with Cobra please let me know.
    Thanks so much.

    -Laura
  2. lbconstable

    lbconstable New Member

    Hi Laura,

    I changed jobs last year and was able to continue my previous health insurance coverage through Cobra.

    Your employer is required to offer to continue your insurance coverage for 18 months upon termination if you're willing to pay for it. It is the same plan with the same insurance company as you had it just becomes administered under a COBRA plan. The cost is completely dependent on what the health plan offered by one's employer cost.

    In my case: my health plan had been Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Nebraska. It was a PPO plan with a $750 deductable. For myself and my husband it cost about $650/mo.

    The paperwork stuff can be kind of a hassle. Be sure to keep good records of everything.

    Good Luck with all of that!
    -Laurie
  3. GinnyB

    GinnyB New Member

    Hi, Laura

    Sorry to hear about your husband's work problems. We went through that eight years ago, so you have my full sympathy.

    If your husband is forced to resign by Jan. 1, you can only get COBRA for 18 months. However, if he can hang on to retire Jan. 20th, however, you can get COBRA for 36 months. Don't let the city bluff you, 36 months at retirement is federal law. It's not cheap, you'll have to pay whatever it costs the company (city). It cost me $235 a month, and as I said that was 8 years ago. It was worth it, though--think what a doctor charges for one visit. And most private insurance companies no longer want to insure individuals at all, especially sick ones. The cost of COBRA goes up each year, but the city has to insure you for whatever they're paying for their employees. And whatever you do, don't miss a payment, or they can drop you immediately. It's a hassle, but worth it for good insurance.

    Good luck. Let me know how you make out.

    Ginny

  4. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    When my husband was laid off years ago & went into consulting, we did the Cobra thing for 18 months. The cost will be the same as it is now if you are deducting your premium from your hubby's check as a payroll deduction (I assume his company covers him at NO cost) If you, as a spouse, also are covered right now at no cost, then you would have to begin paying whatever it is that the company pays monthly for your insurance premium (find out the amount from their human resources dept.). The good news is, it's still much cheaper than private insurance, being a company group plan, and there are no exclusions.

    The tough part is that once the 18 months are up, you'll have to get some kind of private insurance plan, and that can be very difficult if you have existing health issues, which we all do. Different states operate differently, though, and long before our 18 months were up, we sat down with an independent insurance agent to explore all our options.

    We ended up getting "rated up", as they call it, which means paying very high premiums for pre-existing health issues (hubby's a type 2 diabetic), however we did get covered on a private plan----many states would not have even covered my husband with diabetes as a pre-existing condition, they'd have made him get a "state" sponsored plan which costs a lot but covers very little. But anyway, it was not cheap----for a couple of years, we paid about $1200/month for our private Blue Cross plan, more than many people pay for a mortgage.

    Luckily now, my husband is still self-employed, but I'm well enough to work full-time & so he & I are both covered through my employer.

    Be sure long before the Cobra runs out that you are talking to an independent insurance agent in your area so you can thoroughly check out all your options. I can't stress enough how much insurance practices seem to vary from state to state, so you really need an agent to help you with this.

    Good luck, hope this helps some...

    Pam
  5. ldbgcoleman

    ldbgcoleman New Member

    I took Cobra for 3 months and then found a less expensive plan for us. It was before fibro so I'm not sure new Insurance covers preexisting conditions. Lynn
  6. hopeful4

    hopeful4 New Member

    payments for my husband and me are $726/mo. My husband was laid off of his job...so tell me how it is that the cost of insurance is 10 times more when you have no income!

    Best wishes,
    Hopeful4
  7. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Check to see whether your state offers group insurance for groups of one or two. Also check to see if anyone is selling such coverage. If so, that may be the only way for you to have ins. once Cobra runs out.

    If you can start some kind of business and it is profitable, you can qualify as a self-employed group. This means that you have to file a Schedule C on your income tax and cannot use it as a loss to offset other income. It has to show a profit, even if it is a small profit.

    To do this, start any kind of business. It would be better if you both are the business owners. Then, when you lose your current insurance, you can take a small group plan. There is no underwriting for groups. There are no pre-existing conditions. This kind of insurance isn't cheap because there is no underwriting and, therefore, an increased risk to the insurance company.

    You have to have been in business at least a year and have a Schedule C to prove it. That is why now is the time to act. Because I continued to receive commissions from prior insurance sales, I was able to call myself a group of one. That is how I remained insured for the three years it took to get SSD and Medicare after I could no longer work.

    Good luck to you.

    Love, Mikie
  8. laura81655

    laura81655 New Member

    You guys have given me some great info. here. I was told by Blue Cross that after Cobra runs out I would be eligible for Blue Cross Hippa. That runs $550 a month to date. Well, whatever I get I know I will have to pay a lot for it.

    Mikie, thanks for the idea of running some sort of in-home business, that could be an option too.

    Hugs to all, Laura
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    The HIPPA plans are the most expensive, even more than small group. Still, you know that there is a plan of last recourse. If you go the HIPPA route, call no later than 60 days prior to the end of your Cobra; 90 days is better.

    Also, you can usually choose among more options with a small group plan than the HIPPA plan. You may want to opt for only catastrophic coverage. Keep as many options open as you can.

    Love, Mikie
  10. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Valerie just posted about the difficulty finding docs who take Medicare in Raleigh. What's happening in NC?

    Love, Mikie