If you have lost your employer-based North Carolina health insurance due to job loss or divorce, you owe it to yourself to fully understand all your options! Many individuals who lose their employer-based health insurance assume they must pay for COBRA coverage to stay insured. However, there are BETTER options, particularly if you’re healthy.
1. COBRA is Expensive
COBRA is usually the more expensive than an individual North Carolina health insurance plan. COBRA was designed for individuals who are unable to qualify for an individual plan. Seeking out individual health coverage could save you hundreds of dollars per month.
Employers typically contribute toward their employees’ health premiums, so opting for COBRA coverage after your employment ends. That means that you are responsible for your entire premium, plus a 2% administrative fee. The average cost for family COBRA coverage is around $1,500 per month.
2. COBRA is Temporary
COBRA is temporary (typically only 18 months – 36 months in some cases). If your health changes while on COBRA you may become ineligible for an individual plan when your COBRA runs out. Securing an individual plan while you are still healthy is your best option.
Individual health insurance is purchased under your own name and you cannot be singled out for a rate increase due to any health changes that may occur. While rates and plans may change over time, federal law provides “guaranteed renewability.” This means that your health insurer cannot cancel your policy except under specific circumstances, such as if you have provided false information on your application or fail to pay your premiums.
3. Individual Plans offer more flexibility
Individual North Carolina health insurance plans can be tailored to fit your needs. You can pick from various health insurance options and select the plan that best fits your individual or family’s needs. You can save further on your monthly premium by increasing deductibles, carving out benefits (i.e. maternity), etc.
Individual health insurance plans come with a wide variety of options. You can choose from high-deductible plans, HSA-compatible plans, student plans, and short-term plans for those transitioning between employers and more. This provides greater flexibility for you to find the plan that best fits your needs and budget.
4. COBRA Does Not Offer Choice
The group health insurance plan you have through your employer at the time your employment ends is the plan you must maintain via COBRA. If your employer offers a less expensive plan or one that better suits your current needs, you are unable to switch.
5. Other things to Keep in Mind
Individual plans are month to month so if you secure another job with benefits you can cancel your plan immediately.
Your new employer may not offer insurance or there may be a longer waiting period. With your own plan you will be covered.
You may want to consider carrying your spouse or dependents on the individual plan even after you may become employed again. Employer health plans have changed considerably and you may pay a lot more to add your spouse and/or children to a group plan versus having them stay on their own individual plan (many companies no longer contribute to the premium for dependents).
To find out more about North Carolina Individual health insurance or want a free rate quote contact us today!