Changing Jobs (Part 1 of 3) Health Insurance, COBRA, and Other Options


Paul D. McDonald, MBA


Maintain Stability in the Midst of Change
Life can bring a flood of changes during your working years. Career changes. Changes in priorities. Changes from work to retirement. How can you make sure that your investments will navigate through these periods of change?
Health Insurance, COBRA, and Other Options
Sometime during the past 50 years, it has almost become assumed that having a job meant having health insurance. But what happens if you are retired, out of work, or changing jobs? What if your new employer does not offer health insurance? There are a few options:
1. Go without health insurance for a period of time
2. Purchase a short-term or long-term individual health insurance supplemental plan
3. Purchase COBRA insurance
4. Join a consumer-driven discount medical plan
Option 1: Go without. Naturally, the problem with this option is that an event could occur during that time that would require serious medical insurance, or could make you uninsurable for future insurance. While this is certainly the lowest cost if something bad does not happen, the risk involved is very high.
Option 2: Individual Policy. This option is preferred by people who expect a long period of unemployment, are retiring, change employers frequently, or are in an industry where health insurance benefits are not normally offered to employees. The advantage to this option is that you will know exactly what your health insurance benefits are and what they cost. The disadvantage is that the premiums are usually somewhat higher.
Option 3: Purchase COBRA. In layman's terms, COBRA coverage is an extension of your employer-sponsored plan that you pay for once you leave the job for any reason.
COBRA was passed in to law in 1986 by the US Congress and the law generally covers group health plans maintained by employers with 20 or more employees in the prior year. It applies to plans in the private sector and those sponsored by state and local governments.{2} The law does not, however, apply to plans sponsored by the Federal government and certain church- related organizations. Check with your employer to learn if you have the option to use COBRA coverage.
Option 4: Join a Consumer Plan. These groups are not insurance, but they do provide the bargaining power of dramatically reducing the cost of medical expenses by "pre-negotiating" a rate. Medical providers like the plan because there is no paperwork and the user usually pays in cash so the overhead is low. These programs can greatly reduce the cost of insurance and work with non-covered events.


Paul D. McDonald, MBA is a financial professional specializing in working with seniors and business owners. He assists people in making decisions on retirement planning, investing, insurance, budgeting, debt management, and many other critical financial decisions. Paul welcomes calls on the subject at the toll-free number 1-877-711-1264 or you can visit his website at http://boomerfinances.blogspot.com/.




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