Understand all of your options for California COBRA Insurance
Losing or quitting a job is a scary time for most people, and that time is made even more stressful because of the tough decisions you face about California COBRA insurance and what health insurance option is going to meet your health needs and budget. Many people are not unaware that when they lose or quit their job, federal COBRA insurance isn’t their only option and there are actually many health insurance options to consider including Cal-COBRA, private health insurance, and government health insurance. Each different option has its own advantages and disadvantages but exploring and understanding each program allows you to make the best decision.
The first option that we recommend people explore is federal COBRA insurance. The federal COBRA insurance program was established in 1986 to protect people from suddenly losing health insurance when they were laid off, quit, or retired from their job. It was also meant to protect spouses and children who were covered under the employee plan during a divorce or if they lose dependent status. Most people find that they qualify for federal COBRA insurance if the covered employee worked at a company with at least 20 full time employees and were not let go due to gross misconduct.
The major downside for most people for COBRA insurance is the price tag. Under the law, you must pay 102% of the premium cost to keep your health insurance. This includes the cost of the entire monthly premium, not just what you paid. Since most employers contribute substantially to health insurance costs, most people find their health insurance costs increase by as much as 90%. For a family of four, the average COBRA insurance cost is over $1000 monthly. Luckily if that is too expensive there are other options that could work for your budget.
To help California residents who do not qualify for federal COBRA, the state set up a mini COBRA insurance plan known as Cal-COBRA or California COBRA. Under the Cal COBRA plan, people who do not qualify for federal COBRA and work at a company with between 2-19 employees can be eligible to receive COBRA insurance benefits. The major downside to Cal COBRA is that it is also very expensive and you will be responsible for paying the entire premium plus an administration fee. For many families this is over $1000 monthly. Cal COBRA normally lasts between 18-36 months depending on the qualifying event, or reason you lost your health insurance coverage.
A third health insurance option in California is looking into private health insurance. Many people think that private health insurance is even more expensive than COBRA, but the reality is that most people who are generally healthy can save over $600 monthly by choosing a private health insurance plan. California is a very competitive health insurance state and there are lots of options at all different coverage levels. It is always worth it to get a free insurance quote before signing up for COBRA or Cal COBRA to make sure it is the right decision. If COBRA is too expensive, private insurance is likely a strong candidate for health insurance for you and your family.
The last option for health insurance that you should consider in California is government sponsored health insurance. There are many plans available from the state and federal government depending on your income. If you have children there are also many plans available specifically for children.