Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Options Available for Health Insurance

What is COBRA?

If you worked for a company that had 20+ employees you can stay with your company insurance plan for up to 18 months under the federal law COBRA:  Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. If you choose to continue with your employers' health insurance plan, you cannot make any changes. This is a package plan. If your previous employer had less than 20 employees, then you may be able to fall under Mini-COBRA if you live in a state that offers that program.

Individual Policies. Individual policies are available and costs are based on the applicant's medical history and in some states are zip-code driven. Pre-existing medical conditions may either deny your chances of policy issuance, an exclusion rider may be attached or issue as such with increased annual premium. There are short-term policies and indemnity policies also available.

Health Savings Accounts. Health savings accounts are good for those who are healthy, don't spend much on medical insurance and can afford to take out a high deductible low premium plan. HSA's are tax-sheltered savings accounts similar to IRAs. You can withdrawal as needed tax-free to pay for medical expenses. Money left over at year end rolls over without penalty. Once you reach 65, you can remove the money at that current times tax rate and use the money as you see fit. Contributions vary for individuals and families. Please visit http://www.treasury.gov/ to  learn more.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN