16 September 2008

Health Insurance: COBRA Election Form

My State retirement system sent an intelligible 10 pages of text and forms for me to accomplish filing for COBRA. Essentially, this means that (post-retirement) I can extend my group health and dental plans for the next 18 months. Of course, I must pay the premiums: $365.48 for health, $22.52 for dental.

I say "of course," but not everyone has this requirement. My husband, in his layoff package, was granted the same 18 months of COBRA coverage, but with the first 9 months "free." The company paid the premiums. This type of support can be crucial for families during periods of unemployment; it may be more typical in large company lay-offs.

For both Tom and me, the COBRA coverage is literally extension: same plan, same co-pay, same methods. But Tom's is managed by a third party (a contracted company) and mine is managed by the State agency that oversees my retirement, too. Neither of us is yet qualified for Medicare, so COBRA is our primary protection for the nonce.

My 10-page package explained clearly that I must file paperwork in a 105-day "election period." Cost of the premiums starts on day 1 of eligibility. So, even though I could delay filing until November, I have to pay premiums from September. The self-protective system is to pay from the beginning (smallest checks to write) and I can imagine tense scenarios when retirees enter the system later and don't want to pay the previous months' premiums.

I also made a call to the State office (I'll detail it tomorrow), but it did not detract from the simplicity of the COBRA election form. I rate the current task a glorious 3. It is only that high due to the length.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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