This COBRA is strangling me!
April 14, 2011 2:47 AM   Subscribe

I have COBRA health insurance now, and while it's terrific, it's really expensive (almost $500 a month!!). I am thinking of dropping it and going for short term health insurance until I get a job with a group insurance plan. Is this a terrible idea? I'm an otherwise healthy young woman with no pre-existing conditions (that I know of). And, if it's not a bad idea, can anyone recommend a reputable company?
posted by caoimhe to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The short term insurance plans don't count as "qualifying coverage" for the purposes of calculating your consecutive months of insurance for pre-existing conditions purposes. In other words, if you are on the short term plan for 90 days and then get a job, your new corporate insurance will consider you as having been uninsured for 90 days, which exceeds the 63 day limit, and you will not be covered for anything they deem pre-existing for up to 18 months.

However, if you are only buying single coverage you should be able to get a qualifying plan with a very high deductible from BC/BS for less than $500 a month. I'm in the similar situation, waiting out a 90 day waiting period until insurance kicks in at a new job. I'm paying BC/BS of VA $560 a month for a family plan with a $10,000 individual / $20K family deductible.Looking at the breakdown of costs. it looks like they would be charing me about $135 a month if it was just me, and I'm not young!
posted by COD at 4:59 AM on April 14, 2011

When I was young and healthy I picked up an individual insurance plan for ~$125 a month. I can't remember the company, it was so long ago, but you should definitely be able to find something cheaper than that.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 5:01 AM on April 14, 2011

Data point: my wife and I pay $450 for the both of us, have a HUGE deductible, and our insurance sucks. This was the cheapest we found in NY state (which is very, very expensive for non group insurance). And, women very often have to pay more for the same coverage. Also, some providers quote you a great teaser rate until you actually get the insurance, then it goes up. Or, they start refusing to cover stuff. Fun.

If it were me, and the difference were only $100 or so a month, and I was happy with COBRA, and I had good coverage, and I could afford it, I probably would not switch. Not worth the stress and hassle. IMHO. Every time I have to start fighting with my private insurance carrier it is a total headache and I long for the days of group insurance. It's a gamble no matter what you do. You either pay a lot for "security" or you pay less and hope nothing goes wrong.
posted by Doggiebreath at 5:30 AM on April 14, 2011

I've had reasonably good luck with United Healthcare and Blue Cross (both in MD), although I have Cigna now and haven't had much trouble with it either. is probably the quickest way to search for plans.
posted by electroboy at 5:58 AM on April 14, 2011

Also, my brother recently got health insurance through Blue Cross in MD. He pays about $175/month. Not sure about the deductible.
posted by electroboy at 5:59 AM on April 14, 2011

I'd take hal_c_on's advice, and then, additionally, check to see if your state offers any low-income or uninsured general coverage.

Here in Wisconsin we have "Badgercare," which, unfortunately, most of my friends are forced to use.
posted by thanotopsis at 6:07 AM on April 14, 2011

If you're not taking full advantage of you COBRA coverage, then you should consider switching to a cheaper plan. But use the plan first, before dropping it: visit specialists for any nagging medical issues, get a physical, visit the dentist, get some visits in with a therapist (mental or physical) and get a 3 month (or more) supply of drugs.

Then, when you're paying a higher deductible and higher copays for your cheaper insurance, you'll have less to worry about.
posted by indigo4963 at 6:35 AM on April 14, 2011

I definitely agree with hal_c_on (and others). Make the most of the COBRA and then bail if you won't have any ongoing issues.

I bought private insurance when I was between jobs, and ended up being glad I did. I'm mid-twenties, no pre-existing conditions, so I was offered a "preferred subscriber" rate, which was half the price of my COBRA coverage.

The coverage was about the same as what I had with COBRA for catastrophic coverage, but, since I didn't have any major issues, I ended up saving money by going with the lower premium and paying a little more for procedures, doc visits, prescriptions, etc.

I went through my renters/car insurance agent and they work with Assurant Health. It worked out fine for me, but again, it's always a bit of a gamble deciding what approach will be cheaper. Plus, nothing went wrong, so I didn't have any experience with coverage being denied, etc.
posted by cndelia at 6:45 AM on April 14, 2011

Make SURE that any coverage you buy qualifies as "continuing coverage." My husband and I had to bail from our COBRA because it was going to be nearly two grand a month, and we were fortunate enough to live in a state where we can purchase continuing coverage for a reasonable price. Depending on where you live, you might be unable to get continuing coverage for less than you're paying in COBRA.
posted by KathrynT at 10:45 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older Clean my bedroom!   |   Researching 19th century India Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.