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COBRA
Old 09-29-2004, 08:08 AM   #1
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COBRA

I will be changing jobs at the end of the Sept, and my new benefits won't kick in until Nov... for those of you COBRA gurus, do you know if I can use COBRA to purchase insurance for a single month? I know it sounds stupid, but the literature I got from HR made it seem like it's 18 months, period.
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Re: COBRA
Old 09-29-2004, 08:10 AM   #2
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Re: COBRA

You can stop COBRA any time you want -- either because you have a new job with benefits, or because you have found less expensive insurance elsewhere.

Peter
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Re: COBRA
Old 09-29-2004, 08:19 AM   #3
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Re: COBRA

Being 24, I have found that the group rate we get here is actually higher than what I could get on my own.... I'm just lazy though, and for 1 month, I don't want to deal with more paperwork than I need...

Thanks
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Re: COBRA
Old 09-29-2004, 08:49 AM   #4
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Re: COBRA

As I recall the COBRA laws, you have 60 days from the notification date of COBRA benefits eligibility to enroll and another 30 days to send in the premium that is due for the coverage.

Since your active coverage ends in September, wait about 60 days and then send in your COBRA enrollment form but do not send in the premium at this time. Wait about 30 days and if you have not used the COBRA insurance and your new coverage becomes active, just do not send in the $.

I used to administer COBRA for a number of Fortune 500 firms and I always informed folks in this situation to "work the system" this way. I suggest that you contact the COBRA administrator and run this idea by him/her.

A note of caution, make sure that you have all of your dates and other information accutately calculated because if your are even one day off they can deny enrollment. The COBRA law favors the ex-employee so employers tend to follow the law exactly.

regards,
mickeyd
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Re: COBRA
Old 09-29-2004, 09:01 AM   #5
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Re: COBRA

My new insurance will kick in Nov 1.... so you're saying that I should send in the paperwork that says "you bet I want coverage", and if I use it, pay for it, but if not, don't cut a check and let the policy lapse?

I gotta tell you, right now little red lights are going off in my head saying "danger will Robinson, danger!".... so if I sign up for coverage, but then fail to pay... won't they come after me and demand payment? I must have misunderstood something...


Edit: another question... you said to wait 60 days before enrolling.... what happens if something BAD happens during that 60 day period? Wouldn't I lack medical coverage if I failed to send in the enrollment form?
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Re: COBRA
Old 09-29-2004, 09:02 AM   #6
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Re: COBRA

Marshac, you're young. Individual insurance should be cheap for you (like under $150/mo). Of course, gaming the system sounds cheaper
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Re: COBRA
Old 09-29-2004, 09:05 AM   #7
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Re: COBRA

Quote:
gaming the system sounds cheaper *
Agreed, and it sounds more fun too! There's always that giddly little thrill when you "stick it to the man"
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Re: COBRA
Old 09-29-2004, 09:27 AM   #8
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Re: COBRA

Geez...when I was in my 20's and early 30's, I took 2-4 weeks off between jobs as a standard vacation gap. Never thought for a minute about health care.

But yeah, Kaiser here in CA charges $99 a month for healthy people per month and it takes about 3 minutes to fill out their form.

Be advised however that non-cobra, non-hippa applicants that have ANY medical history whatsoever outside of regular physicals and tests may very likely be rejected. When I applied for Blue Cross last year they got my medical history from Kaiser. There was one blood test from early 2001 that was slightly irregular but didnt reappear on a re-test, and I had a benign skin lesion removed the same year. They initially rejected me on that basis, until I forced them to accept me via hippa.

I honestly cant wait until we have a nice national health plan that gets rid of all this happy horsepuckey.
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Re: COBRA
Old 09-29-2004, 09:58 AM   #9
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Re: COBRA

mickeyd, thanks for the tips!

I looked into COBRA a bit more, and you can retroactively (within 60 days) elect coverage, so if something goes horribly horribly wrong, you're safe for that 60 days. This is REALLY good to know, especially for those people here who weave in and out of the workforce.

Thanks again
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Re: COBRA
Old 09-30-2004, 08:16 AM   #10
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Re: COBRA

If you have anything that could be classified as a "pre-existing condition", you're going to want to make sure that you were insured up until the point your new job's health insurance starts.
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Re: COBRA
Old 09-30-2004, 09:12 AM   #11
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Re: COBRA

I believe that you can have up to a 62(?) day break in coverage, and under HIPPA, even with a pre-existing condition, the insurance company must insure you.
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Re: COBRA
Old 09-30-2004, 05:09 PM   #12
 
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Re: COBRA

Yeah, they must insure you, but at what price? All the
insurance in the world does you no good if you can't
pay the premiums.

John Galt
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Re: COBRA
Old 10-01-2004, 02:41 PM   #13
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Re: COBRA

Marschac,

I know that it feels thatyou are getting over "the man" and in a sense you are. *COBRA is one of those rare situations that you, the employee, can actually make the system work totally in your favor. *Your credit will not be affected by enrolling in COBRA and *later never sending in the $.

Your research into COBRA has obviously made you a more informed consumer, congratulations.

You actually get 60 days PLUS the additional 45 days to send in the $. *Don't send in the election form until day 58 or so. *" ...initial payment for COBRA coverage can not be required by the Plan any earlier than 45 days from the date the beneficiary elected COBRA" (from Quick Reference to COBRA Compliance" by sanda and Vigliotta). *

So after 58 days, mail in the completed, signed election form. *Wait 43 more days and send in the premium for all 3 months if you need the coverage. *If you are already covered by the new Plan and have not used the old plan, no $ necessary.

Since all dates may need to be verified when you MAIL the election form, not when they receive it, the post office can give you a "certificate of mailing" for a nominal fee to PROVE when you mailed it. This is all of the legal proof that you need.

You can actually streatch this thing out over 100 days and never pay!!! 8)

Good luck.
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Re: COBRA
Old 10-01-2004, 03:38 PM   #14
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Re: COBRA

Quote:
Being 24, I have found that the group rate we get here is actually higher than what I could get on my own.... I'm just lazy though, and for 1 month, I don't want to deal with more paperwork than I need...

Thanks
At 24, unless I had some sort of medical condition, I'd just risk it and go bare...especially for such a short period of time.
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Re: COBRA
Old 10-01-2004, 05:01 PM   #15
 
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Re: COBRA

At 24, I would just go bare, also at 34 , 44 and
maybe 54 too. Of course this is 20/20 hindsight.
Anyway, if I had all the money back that I spent on
health insurance (net), it would be very substantial.

John Galt
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Re: COBRA
Old 10-02-2004, 05:26 AM   #16
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Re: COBRA

No health insurance 1993 to date. At 61, I'm beginning to push my luck - but still debating whether to wait for Medicare. I might renew my passport and keep some foreign addresses handy in case something serious develops - or may not, heh, heh.

It turns out - nowadays I could possibly afford it( in contrast to early ER) - but is that where I wish to spend my ER money?
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Re: COBRA
Old 10-02-2004, 06:46 AM   #17
 
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Re: COBRA

I can only add (again) unclemick that I admire your guts in going without health insurance. I seriously thought about it, but have remained covered pretty continuously
since I slipped the corporate bonds. Of course my wife
helped a lot by remaining employed as I sometimes was covered there. Overall, I would probably be ahead of the game (since full retirement) if I had skipped it
entirely. But isn't that what most insurance is for?
You pay and hope you never need it.

John Galt
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