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California health insurance  -  California Group health insurance  -  Cobra versus Individual Coverage

Comparing Cobra and Individual Family California Health Insurance

So you have left your company hopefully voluntarily but these, days there's a lot of involuntary moves. Either way, you'll probably have a Cobra offer if the company had a California group health insurance plan. What is Cobra and how does it compare with possible individual family insurance on the California market? Great question and potentially one where the answer can save you quite a bit of money. Let's walk through what to consider when comparing your Cobra option to available options on the Individual Family California health insurance market.

First, what is Cobra?

Cobra is essentially continuation of your group health plan where you pay the premiums. The premiums are generally the same total cost the company was paying (both your contribution and theirs) plus an administration fee generally of 10% higher than the group rate. You should receive a Cobra packet directly from the carrier or from your company by mail so make sure they have your correct address. You have a 62 day window to elect Cobra retroactively back to your last date of group coverage and the letter you receive should stipulate important dates pertaining to this window.

You can generally piecemeal Cobra which means that you can elect Cobra for just certain family members...even just for dependent spouses or children.

This becomes important later in our discussion. You may also have options to change coverage at the time of electing Cobra assuming that the company had multiple plan options or a cafeteria type plan. Cobra is not medically underwritten and you can continue on your group health plans for 18 months and sometimes 36 (if there's a Cal-Cobra extension or if certain requirements occur such as divorce, death of spouse, etc). So that's the good news. Why even look at the California individual health market?
Cobra is generally expensive because group health insurance is generally expensive. This is due to the fact that under State law, California group health insurance is guaranteed issue as long as the company meets certain requirements. Eligible employees cannot be declined due to health. Of course, there's always a cost and group health (and by extension, Cobra) will be more expensive, apples to apples for comparable coverage. How much more expensive? Quite a bit and in some cases double. That's really the reason to look at California individual health insurance.

The network difference dominates now

The individual and family networks are about 2/3rds the size of business health plans.  Coverage is guaranteed issue which means we can qualify regardless of health and losing group coverage is a qualifying event that allows us to enroll anytime during the year. 

Here's the take away...

Individual/Family is generally cheaper but make sure your doctors participate in more narrow networks

We can help you compare Cobra and Individual/Family for you.  Call us at 800-320-6269.

First run a California individual health quote from our site,  or have us run one for you. We just need your ages and zip code. If the rates are significantly less expensive than your Cobra info, let's apply. There's no application fee and the rates on our site are the best available. We'll see what they come back with. If we like the offer, we take it and avoid Cobra's higher bill. If we don't, you have a 10 day free look window to cancel the policy never effective.


You can run your California Individual and Family Plan Quote here to view rates and plans side by side from the major carriers...Free.

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