COBRA Help from the Stimulus Package

You have lost your job and are getting a divorce…a little relief from COBRA might be just what you need.

Maintaining non-interrupted insurance is very important. It could protect your ability to get insurance coverage in the future. You do not want a break in your insurance coverage or you will likely have to requalify by having a physical examination with the result of rejection of coverage or limited coverage due to preexisting conditions.

COBRA insurance is available for divorcing spouses for up to 3 years as well as employees who have been laid off.  But COBRA is often an expensive option, easily exceeding $400/month for an individual and $1000/month for families. (Note – If you did not immediately sign up for COBRA coverage when you lost your job, you have 60 days to enroll after you receive a notice from your employer.) The recent stimulus package can aleviate some of that cost. If you were laid off last year between September 1st and the end of 2008, you may qualify for a subsidy of up to 65% of the cost of COBRA from the stimulus package. This subsidy took effect March 1st. There are several other qualifications – for more information go to www.dol.gov/cobra.

If you don’t qualify for COBRA for whatever reasons, try and find a group medical insurance policy. Local Chamber of Commerces usually offer a group policy for business owners and there are many other community groups that provide group plans.

For more information about COBRA coverage or other insurance options after a divorce, please see my book Fair Share Divorce For Women.

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