As great a
benefit as it is (it’s always nice to have options…) COBRA isn’t for
everyone. The level of your sticker
shock depends on a number of things, such as how much of the benefit was your
employer paying for (in my case, most of it), how good (expensive) your
insurance is (mine was very good and, consequently, very expensive), and how
much you will be able to afford when you find yourself suddenly out of work.
COBRA is a great resource; but to determine if it’s for you, consider the
you under a doctor’s care for serious and/or long-term problems?
you anticipate difficulty in qualifying for individual life insurance or have
no option to take insurance through a spouse or a state-sponsored program?
the COBRA price affordable for you, at least long enough for you to get
something less expensive?
you need to provide for a gap in time while waiting to qualify for a plan that
serves you better?
you answered yes to any of the above questions, then COBRA may be for you.
Before you sign up right away, read on about timing and making your first
payment; you have 60 days from the date your coverage ended to sign up for
COBRA. Once you sign up, your first payment is not due for 45 days from that
date. So, in theory, you could continue your coverage without having to pay for
it for up to 105 days; just be prepared for a huge bill, as the coverage will
be retroactive to the date your old coverage ended.