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Should I take my COBRA health insurance plan offer?

Here is what you need to know: COBRA health insurance is group continuation coverage that lasts for a limited amount of time and is roughly 2-3 times the cost of a similar individual health insurance plan on the open market. There are times when you should take your COBRA offer from your employer and there are times when you should definitely NOT take the offer.

First of all, if you are unsure what COBRA even is or have a question about how the COBRA laws work then read the article COBRA health insurance because this article deals only with the matter at hand; whether or not you should take your old employer’s COBRA health insurance offer.

Ok, if you and everyone else on your policy is perfectly healthy (or at least no major health issues) and no one is pregnant then you should almost always refuse the COBRA health insurance and purchase a much cheaper individual health insurance plan. (Some people think their group health insurance is cheap because they don’t really realize how much of the monthly premium their employer is paying. Once you begin COBRA your employer will most likely not be picking up the tab any longer and you will be stuck with the very high group rate).

If you or someone in your family has major health problems then it will be best for them to accept the COBRA offer and probably have the rest of the family (that is healthy) purchase a cheaper individual health insurance plan. Why is this? The reason that individual health insurance is so much cheaper than group health insurance is because although the benefits are about the same from group to individual the underwriting is much different: with group health insurance everyone is accepted onto the plan (even with major health problems) while on the individual health side they will only accept people that meet their health criteria. So of course it follows that individual is much cheaper than group because the health insurance company gets to pick and choose who they want to extend coverage to on the individual health insurance side.

So the decision about accepting COBRA or not accepting COBRA really hinges on your family’s health history (and a good independent health insurance agent will be able to guide you as to specific health issues). Another thing that sometimes comes into play is that if you are currently pregnant then you will have to take the COBRA offer and stay on the plan until after the pregnancy because almost no health insurance company will offer you coverage while pregnant. If you are considering becoming pregnant then also mention this to your agent because not all individual health insurance plans cover pregnancy so you will have to make sure and purchase a plan that has maternity benefits.

Since COBRA benefits typically last 18 months or 36 months or in some cases even longer (but they are never permanent) then what happens if you are forced to take the COBRA plan due to health problems but your time period is up? Don’t worry, even though you would not be approved for a regular fully underwritten individual health insurance plan there are laws that are designed to protect people in your situation. You will want to inquire about a HIPAA health insurance plan that is guaranteed issue and typically for people that have done the responsible thing in keeping continuous health insurance coverage but for reasons beyond their control are unable to continue the coverage. (Read the article HIPAA health insurance for more information).

Hopefully this helps you in making your decision! Please use our free quote finding service so that you can compare rate quotes from the top health insurance companies offering coverage in your area side by side. Get free health insurance quotes now!