I just found out about this nice article that spells out how COBRA health insurance works. It’s written for professionals, but it’s packed with good information that will be helpful to most anybody who’s trying to decide whether to sign up for COBRA or choose some other path.
In general, I’ll tell you what I tell my clients about COBRA. COBRA health insurance coverage works great as long as we use it as it was intended, as a short-term bridge to other coverage. The times I have seen people get in trouble by opting for COBRA health insurance coverage are they SET OUT to use COBRA for the full 36 months, after which they will contract with another carrier and purchase private insurance.
However, that plan leaves them dangerously vulnerable if they have a heart attack or get cancer during that 36 months. COBRA ends after 36 months, with no ifs, ands, or buts. I sure wouldn’t want to be shopping on the private market for health insurance fresh from a heart attack, and I bet you wouldn’t want to either.
The moral of the story is that if you need to use COBRA, by all means use it. Then set out immediately to find other coverage that can be your permanent solution. Don’t wait for 2 1/2 years and THEN start looking.