This post is very US-centric. Lots of people don't fully understand all their health benefits and how some choices, like FSA (Flexible Spending Accounts) can benefit them. But with the waves of unemployment, one of the *most* important things many people are facing is the loss of health insurance for themselves and their dependents.
Health insurance rates have been skyrocketing, along with the cost of health care. Millions of Americans are uninsured. Being without access to health care is scary.
So how does COBRA work? When you leave an employer, by law they are required to allow you to continue on with the plan if you pay the *full premium*. (Most employers pay a portion or all of your monthly premium). They must provide this coverage option to you for up to 18 months after you leave employment if the company has over a certain number of employees.
In January the Federal Government passed an emergency amendment designed to deal with COBRA issues. The government is subsidizing up to 65% of premiums for anyone involuntarily terminated between September and December of 2008 for up to nine months.
So before you bypass COBRA, take a look at some of the resources available and make an informed decision.
Here is a great article detailing some of the information and a link explaining the changes.
http://www.coverageforall.org/ (portal for exploring options)
http://esurance.com (rate quotes for individuals)
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