COBRA- the most useless employee protection act ever?

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Those of us who have lost a job that included health insurance have had the opportunity to take advantage of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), which guarantees the ex-employee the right to extend his/her health insurance coverage for up to 18 months. However, the cost comes out of the ex-employees pocket, and often runs into the neighborhood of a thousand dollars or more per month.

For those facing a sudden loss of income, this premium seems like a second bullet to the head. Now, a new study from The Commonwealth Fund confirms what I've long suspected; less than one in ten ex-employees choose to sign up for COBRA. According to the study, 66% of U.S. workers would qualify for COBRA. Among low-wage earners, only 38% have this option. So where, you might rightly ask, is the benefit from this legislation?

The answer is, for those with already established health problems, this allows them to secure insurance when they might not be otherwise able to buy it. If this isn't your situation, I'd suggest shopping around before grabbing the COBRA option.

What would you do if the family member who carries the health insurance for your family suddenly lost his/her job? For many, the answer is to go naked, risking a health-related financial calamity until they can get a new, benefits-providing job. So choose your poison; would you rather be bit by medical bills or the COBRA?

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