Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Cobra insurance problems

What are some problems that I am going to encounter with COBRA, and what should I do about them?

COBRA - the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act - will provide a certain bridge between group health insurance plans for qualified workers and their families.

There will be some problems that you might encounter with COBRA and it is very important to know how to deal with them. Remember that if you need more assistance with this, you can always talk to your insurance agent and find out more information about COBRA. Here are the problems that you might face:

You never received your enrollment packet for COBRA:

  • When facing a problem like this, it is important to contact your health plan administrator or your employer regarding this issue. Perhaps there was some sort of misunderstanding with your address, so call them and talk to them about this.
  • Your health plan administrator must be notified by your former employer with then the next 30 days after your "qualifying event" - job termination, reduced hours of employment, death, etc...

The insurance company never received the COBRA premiums that you paid for:

  • In a case like this, it is very important to contact the agency that administers COBRA, the United States Department of Labor (DOL). Their telephone number is (866) 275-7922.
  • The DOL will be able to investigate and get to the root of the problem, even though this is an issue between your former employer and the insurance company. Perhaps the former employer missed making the payment or the payment was somehow lost in the mail. Whatever the reason is, you need TOL in on any of the problems. If not, the insurance company might drop your coverage and won't be required to notify you.

Your doctor says that you don't have coverage, even after you enrolled in COBRA and paid your premiums:

In this case, you should contact your plan administrator. The status of you enrolling into COBRA may not have made it into the computer yet.

The employer cancels your health insurance plan or goes out of business:

In this case, you should start looking for an alternate health insurance plan. If this happens, you will no longer be eligible for COBRA.

You never got the new health plan information after your employer switched plans:

Contact your plan administrator to find out why this had happened.

With no warning, your COBRA premium increased significantly:

If the plan rises for the plan's active employees, so will yours.

Your new health insurance doesn't start for 90 days and you switch jobs:

You will stay remain in COBRA for the remainder of the time.

You move out of the service area for your plan:

This way, you will lose COBRA coverage.


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