Welcome to my backwards presentation! The cobra (stimulus) assistance ends in 1 week from this presentation. I started out with the end, since well, it is the end for the 65% cobra subsidy.
COBRAman to save the day
Once the subsidy became effective, plan participants could finally afford COBRA. The employer provided the subsidy wrote off the 65% credit on its employment tax return, as long as it received the 35% premium payment from the individual.
I posted the relevant subsidy section of the Stimulus.
Of course, the COBRA support cost us billions, but whose counting?
The problem with the healthcare law, no matter what side you are on, is the enrollment rates.
Not enough people have health insurance, so hospitals and the government (aka taxpayers) have to pick up the difference, when people can't pay. COBRA is no different. Participation rates are traditionally only 13%. And people enroll in COBRA that don't mind paying through the nose, since they are using the coverage, either for expensive medications, or other chronic condition.
But the subsidy changed all that. Participation went up 300%. Coincidence that the enrollees were only paying 33%?
The money had to come from somewhere, and the tab is running at $25 billion, so far. That's why Congress did not renew.
Subsidy Ending Solutions:
Medicaid is the cheapest, being free. But you have to be very broke, in terms of income and assets. The poverty standards are set very low, qualifying is tough, unless you are near homeless. And then you have other issues, like eating. Your child may be eligible for Medicaid even if you are not. Medicaid varies by state, so you have to contact your state medicaid office.
The Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) is a sweet deal but for very limited number of workers. Union or workers displaced by overseas companies. Or over 55 retirees that had their pensions taken over by the government.
While you are deciding on COBRA, contact your group health insurer and ask them to approve for your own standalone policy. They will deny you if you are on expensive medications or have a chronic medical condition. But always worth a try!
Since you're here, get rates at the top by putting your zip code. You'll get providers in your area, and the more you shop, the longer I can keep maintaining. Thank you!
Try it, you might like it!
While shopping, I recommend you try different types of plans HMOs and PPOs and choose higher deductibles, if you have any savings left over at all. You need to pay the deductible before the insurance covers anything, so if you actually can't make the deductible, you might qualify for medicaid, or other assistance.
Small Biz Plan?
13 states allow a group of 1 for a self employed persons. Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. And you can deduct the premiums, which is typically not done for COBRA.
Another option if your state's high risk fund. It cost anywhere from about $300 to $900 per month, depending on your state. And it's for people that have not had health insurance for 6 months. Not for people that feel like paying less. State funding is in trouble for this one, like most entitlements.
There's also the Pre Existing Condition Insurance Plan. Just the name says broke! And premiums start out at about $400 from my casual wanderings. You can't qualify for other insurance, or at least the state or feds can't know about other plans you have available. if Obamacare does not survive, the PCHIP might also go down in flames.
There's never be fraud and abuse in a government program. And Cheaters is not scripted!
After your COBRA expires, ask your insurer to enroll in their HIPAA plan. They are in 150% of the plan cost, so you'll see a 48% increase in premiums. Ouchie!
No families allowed
Never enroll your whole family in COBRA. Only the members that can not get private health coverage.
People desperate for a deal on health insurance often get scammed by all sorts of thieves, usually selling discount savings plans.
There are also the identity thieves that want your personal info.