How to Manage Your Health Insurance Under COBRA

What is COBRA? That acronym refers to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. When you’re working for a company, you’ll be eligible for health insurance coverage under COBRA. It can also be called a continuation of coverage when you are no longer employed.

In Missouri, the minimum number of hours to work to be qualified for COBRA is 30 hours per week. That’s the minimum number of weekly hours in this state to be considered a full time employee. Then you have the potential to opt for coverage under COBRA. 

With COBRA, you’ll have the exact same insurance plan that you have with your company plan. The only difference is that you will be paying the full premium.

Keeping Your Same Healthcare Network and Providers

A lot of times, the full premium is very expensive. However, if you compare COBRA costs to your costs under the ACA (Affordable Care Act or Obamacare), the rates aren’t that different. 

Where COBRA really helps is that a person can continue to use the same network they’ve always dealt with. You would have a full network of providers, however, the staff at MBhealth can always look at your plan and compare it to others to see if there is another plan that’s going to meet your needs better.

Activating Coverage When COBRA Ends

Many people think, “Oh, my COBRA coverage is ending. It just ended last month. Now I’m uninsured.” Actually, you’re not uninsured. COBRA has a rule that you have 60 days from the date that you lose coverage or are notified to elect it to obtain coverage. You can elect it on day 45, and as long as you pay the premium for those two months, they’ll backdate your coverage and you’ll be covered with no lapse. That’s a big safety feature. 

Employees will come to MBhealth right at the end of the month where they are losing their coverage. They’ve lost their plan or they’ve been terminated and their COBRA coverage ends on January 31st. 

They say, “Well, I don’t have enough time to make a decision about new insurance coverage.” Actually they do because of that 60-day buffer. They’ll have to pay the full premium but they’ll have coverage. If they wait too long, there’s two months of coverage they have to pay for to get that insurance back into effect. But that’s still a safety net.

Time to Look for Other Solutions

This 60-day buffer enables you to relax a little bit and start to talk about other solutions for your health insurance coverage. When MBhealth staff talk this over with people looking for health insurance we ask questions and look at all sides of their situation. We discuss questions like these: 

  • Is COBRA the best option or not?
  • What makes the most sense?
  • How can it work out in your favor?
  • Does everybody in your family need COBRA coverage?
  • Does just one person need it?

These are questions you need to answer if you’re going to make the best decision. When MBhealth discusses COBRA with one of our clients, we really want to get into their whole situation. 

Losing a job is very scary. But there are people who can help you make the right decision about your health insurance coverage. We have experienced staff at MBhealth Insurance Agency who can help you make the right call and the right decision. There are health insurance coverage options available to you. When you need help or have questions, call us at (314) 544-5400, or contact us here.

Annual Time Limits on HSA Payments

You have until April 15th to fund your prior year’s HSA limit. In other words, you have until April 15th of the year 2023 to pay for your 2022 HSA contribution if you were covered by a High Deductible Health Plan in 2022. Then, to continue your contributions, you must stay in a High Deductible Health Plan. 

In 2023, if you qualify for Medicare, you may have a limited use of your HSA for that time, when you use Medicare.

There are a lot of advantages accompanying a Health Savings Plan. The biggest ones are the tax-free nature of the money and getting the lowest health insurance premium. If you have any questions or want to talk about this further, call our agency. Our phone number is 314-544-5400 or contact us here.

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