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Alternatives to COBRA


Once the current government subsidy for COBRA health insurance premiums expires—if it isn't extended—other insurance options may make more sense. Here are some guidelines

TAKE TIME TO DECIDE

You have 60 days to decide whether to get COBRA. If you might get a new job quickly, there's little harm in waiting. Not all health-related benefits are covered under COBRA or the subsidy program, so review documents carefully.

LOOK TO YOUR STATE

State group plans vary greatly, as do eligibility requirements. Consumer advocates warn that some options, known as limited or fixed indemnity policies, don't offer good value. Start a search at statehealthfacts.org.

VET ASSOCIATION PLANS

Non-employer-based group plans, known as association plans, may be available. Problems have arisen from confusion over plans that were really limited-benefit plans, not full-blown health insurance coverage.

EXPLORE INDIVIDUAL PLANS

Healthy people can likely find a good individual policy at substantially lower cost than a COBRA plan, says Jon Moss, of Moss Benefits Group. Ask the plan provider for the detailed "Explanation of Benefits" document.


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