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Should You Enroll in COBRA?

If you lose your job, you may have the option of signing up for COBRA.

Here are five important things to do before you sign up for COBRA:

  1. Explore the cost of other plans (individual health plans, Medicaid, etc.), including monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs. If you’re generally healthy, you could save money by enrolling in a Bronze or Silver plan with a higher deductible and a lower monthly premium.
  2. See if you qualify for financial assistance. Depending on how much you expect to earn during the year, you may qualify for Medicaid or tax credits to get an individual plan at a lower price. You may also qualify for a Silver plan with a lower deductible.
  3. Understand the rules for applying. When you lose your job, you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (generally for 60 days after the event) to choose an individual health insurance plan. Your coverage can start as early as the first day of the month after you lose your insurance.
  4. Check if the plan covers the doctors you want to see. You can do this by calling either your insurance company or your doctor’s office.
  5. Check if the plan covers your prescriptions. Make sure your medications are covered in the insurer’s formulary, which is the list of drugs they cover. Look at the cost difference between your insurance options and factor that into the plan you choose.

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