This story was posted on MSNBC.com
As the Unemployment Numbers Grow Consumers Seek Help to Find Cost-Saving Alternatives to COBRA
updated 3:45 p.m. ET, Fri., Feb. 6, 2009
ARROYO GRANDE, CA - Many individuals who have recently become unemployed are grappling with the decision of what to do about lost health insurance. Options include signing up for COBRA, venturing into the world of individual medical insurance coverage, or -- even riskier -- going without coverage due to costs. A wise alternative is to seek help from a professional licensed health insurance agent who can help people make the right health care decisions relevant to their own unique situations.
Congress enacted the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, to protect people in the event that they face the loss of medical insurance plans when changing jobs, after the death of the eligible employee, after divorce, or some other life-altering event. Many alternatives to this plan exist, including:
-- Aetna is one of the largest insurance companies in the United States, and offers individual medical coverage in many states. The cost and plans vary significantly depending on individual state laws and business needs. Aetna does business in the private sector as well.
-- Blue Cross and Blue Shield offer health insurance to both companies and individuals. Their rates are usually much more competitive than those offered by other companies.
-- Short-term health care insurance is sold by many companies and can be purchased by individuals through an independent health insurance agent. Coverage on these plans is usually very affordable, but does have its limitations.
-- The key to finding the best health insurance plans is understanding and comparing all of the options that are available. This is made easier by consulting with an insurance agency that represents many health insurance companies.
Unemployed individuals and others in need of health insurance should seek the services of a professional licensed health insurance agent that does business in their state. Agents can provide free quotes and valuable information to help people find money-saving COBRA alternatives.