You are here: Home Insurance COBRA 101 Six Steps To Take While ...
Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


Six Steps To Take While You Are On COBRA

Next » « Previous


Step 1. PAY YOUR PREMIUMS PROMPTLY!! Your health insurance depends on it.

Remember, once cancelled for nonpayment there is no reinstatement of coverage. 
Keep in mind that the employer is probably only keeping you on the health plan because of the legal requirement. If you're incurring claims, your employer and the insurance company would be very happy to lose you as a covered person, and will likely do so at the first opportunity. 

  • To make payments without having to do the work each month, ask the plan administrator if they will withdraw funds from your bank account automatically. If not, have the premium paid automatically from your bank account through on-line banking.
  • As an alternative, if the plan administrator will allow it, pay two months premium up-front. You will then always be a month ahead and don't have to worry whether the check is received before the grace period expires.
  • If you send premium payments by check, rather than rely on receiving bills for the monthly payments, keep the payment date on your calendar. It is as important as any medical appointment.
  • Make arrangements now to insure payments are not missed if you travel, or become incapacitated.

Step 2. Be sure to give any change of address to the plan administrator, whether the administrator is the employer or an outside firm.

Step 3. Stay in touch with the plan administrator and your former co-workers so that you are alerted to any changes in benefits or insurance carriers as soon as possible.

  • If the group plan is changed, your coverage will automatically change as well since for these purposes your coverage is still part of the group.
  • If the employer changes to a new plan, the law requires the employer to switch your coverage as well. However, oftentimes people who no longer work for a firm are forgotten. This can lead to misunderstandings of what is covered or delays in getting on the new plan.

Step 4. Maintain a log or record of your payments.

  • List each payment, the date it was sent, the check number, the month that the premium covers, and whether it cleared the bank.
  • Keep all receipts if you send payments Return Receipt Requested. If there is ever a mix-up at the administrator, which does often happen, you'll be able to reconstruct your payment history.

Step 5. Review your coverage during each open enrollment period.

  • You can change coverage to a plan that may be better for your changing circumstances just as an active employee can. For help choosing the best policy for you, see our Health Insurance Evaluator

Step 6. Plan for termination of COBRA protection.

  • At the end of COBRA there are opportunities to continue coverage in one form or another, such as Medicare, a HIPAA Conversion Plan, purchasing insurance in a state that guarantees issue, purchasing insurance from a pool, or from a new employer's health plan.
  • Make an alert in your diary two to three months before your coverage ends to think about and decide which health coverage to obtain when your health insurance ends.
  • Apply for the new coverage at least 4 weeks before the end of COBRA or the COBRA extension so the new coverage will be waiting for you. Lapses in coverage may cause you to lose coverage. If all else fails, see our article on obtaining health insurance.

NOTE: If you are on disability, learn what to do in the event there is an investigation about whether you continue to be disabled. For information, click here.

Please share how this information is useful to you. 0 Comments


Post a Comment Have something to add to this topic? Contact Us.

Characters remaining:

  • Allowed markup: <a> <i> <b> <em> <u> <s> <strong> <code> <pre> <p>
    All other tags will be stripped.