COBRA Insurance

For some strange reason, the federal government has mandated insurance for cobras. This COBRA insurance does not extend to any other snakes, just cobras. If the cobra loses its job through no fault of its own, it is eligible for COBRA insurance. If a human being loses his or her job, they can get COBRA insurance and be covered if a cobra bites them. Please not that this insurance covers only cobra bites so don’t come crying if an asp bites you.

***Get real. What is COBRA insurance really for?

Ok, we’re going to give you something to throw around at parties and really impress people. COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconstruction Act. Pretty impressive, huh? We won’t go into how a bill like that ends up as insurance because it’s boring and because we don’t know. What COBRA does is help people who have been laid off their jobs to keep their health insurance for a period of time

***Some details about COBRA insurance

Basically, COBRA insures your right to continued health insurance if you lose your job through no fault of your own. If you get drunk on the job and fell into the donut grease, you’re out of luck. After you’re fired, you will have to pay for those nasty burns on your own nickel. To get COBRA you must have worked for a company that provided health insurance. If you worked for a company that didn’t insure its workers, you are not eligible for COBRA.

***The Nuts and Bolts of COBRA

You’re a terrific worker but your company has outsourced your job to Outer Shimbala. You spend the first week huddled in your bed and watching Star Trek re-runs. The second week is spent calling your company in Outer Shimbala and trying to catch the Shimbalans with a tech question they can’t answer. But by the third week reality sets in and you start to worry about things like income and health insurance. You find that COBRA is offered automatically to all previously insured workers and all insurance companies must honor it. This sounds pretty great. The catch is that you must pay the whole premiums. These are higher than group rates but lower than individual rates.

You can probably make the payments on your unemployment insurance by eating beans and rice. If you get another job and it doesn’t provide health insurance you can continue your COBRA. If you are covered, you must notify COBRA and that coverage ends. But at least you are insured until the next outsourcing.

***Is COBRA a lifetime thing?

Unfortunately, no. COBRA lasts for 18 months and if a rattlesnake bites you at month 19, you’ll have to suck out the venom yourself.

Some insurance companies will allow you to convert to an individual plan and usually, but not always, your premiums will be higher. Some states, California, for example, require insurance companies to offer COBRA for an additional 18 months. California likes to name its programs after itself so theirs is called Cal-COBRA. Or you can always move to Outer Shambala and get a job there.

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