Help! Our COBRA is about to run out. I would like some advice as to where I can get info on some "reputable" private health companies or alternatives. Thanks. - pbcml
By (Guest Post) 11/22/2004
Due to medical problems, I am unable to purchase a private policy, howver Blue Cross, with whom I had the COBRA has a policy for specifically that population-people whose Cobras have expired. It is expensive but not as expensive as being uninsured would be!
If you can get a private policy that will be the best. But you can only get a private policy if you don't have any significant pre-existing conditions. Try with Blue Cross Blue Shield, John Deere insurance. Call an insurance dealer and find out what they say. They would be happy to help you. If you don't like what they have, you're under no obligation to buy.
I was COBRAed out and couldn't qualify for private insurance. There is a state-mandated insurance designed for COBRAed out people. They must take all preexisting conditions. It was Blue Cross Blue Shield and called "Blue Select" or "Blue Alliance" There were some qualifications... 1. resident of the state for the previous 12 months, 2. No other insurance is available to you from spouse/employer/medicare etc. 3. Had to be insured for the past 12 or 18 months under a group insurance plan (e.g. employer's).
As the previous post said, this insurance is WAY expensive. My COBRA was $261/mo (single) and the Blue Alliance was $440/mo (single, Female, non-tobacco user).
Be sure to check with social services or a crisis center to see if you qualify for some other insurance. Some states are extending COBRA benefits because many people have lost jobs. If you can apply for social security disability, then you get medicare.
Also to be cognizant of... when you go off COBRA, you have a 63 day grace period. After that you will have an official gap in insurance coverage. When you get a job in the future, the new group insurance can impose a waiting period or a rider on preexisting conditions if you have a gap in coverage. I checked with 4 of the larger employers in my city and found that none of them did that. My preexistings would be accepted either immediately or have a 1 month waiting period. Even so, it is something to consider.
Be very careful when obtaining insurance. There are so many insurance companies on the internet that LIE, and I know because I had one withdraw money from my checking account without my authorization, and they totally misrepresented themselves, going so far as telling me that they were another insurance company.. I did contact my bank, filled out a form, and got my money back. I would check with the Better Business Bureau, which is no guarantee that all the disreputable ones have been reported, but it is a start. I am diabetic, and my Cobra will run out in a year, so I will be finding other insurance. I was refused insurance by Allstate because of diabetes. Blue Cross' rates were exorbitant...Makes me wonder if Universal Health Care would be a good idea.
I don't know what state you are in, but you may check with your insurance commissioner to check and see if the insurance you will be getting is OK. I wouldn't advise giving your phone number (as I foolishly did) when checking insurance rates on the internet. I had to do that before getting a quote, and I got so many calls it was nerve-wracking. I finally told them I already had insureance (this was before I knew my husband could have me on Cobra). I suppose the best advice I could give, is to go to an agent in your community, or if you are older, talk with someone from Council on Aging.
I wish you the very best!