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Health Insurance California Cobra Question & Answers

2014 September 28
by Sarah Fields

Sandra asks…

Know of where I can get a list of people who have cobra for health insurance?

I am a new insurance agent, and I am looking for a list of people who are enrolled in COBRA for health insureance in the state of california.

Sarah Fields answers:

Since this would break privacy statutes, I don’t believe there is anyway you can obtain this information. Even insurance companies now mail out privacy statements to tell you that your information is never shared.

George asks…

Can I sign up and get retroactive coverage with COBRA only if I have a medical emergency and really need it?

I am leaving my current job on June 9th and my current health insurance will end the 15th of June. Leaving my job because of a move. Everything is falling into place with the new job I’ll have, and I expect to start at the new job before the 60 day election period for COBRA ends (possibly as early as late June, possibly some time in July). I’ve been at my current job for over 3 years, which if I understand insurance correctly, the new employer has to credit my current insurance coverage towards any lapse I would’ve had (i.e. a one year lapse is not applicable to me.)
I’m 6 weeks pregnant, will have my next appointment on June 13th. My next doc appointment after that isn’t due for another 6 weeks. As long as I make sure to elect COBRA by August 15th (which would only happen if my hire date doesn’t come before that) then if anything comes up and I HAVE to see a doctor during that gap, it’ll be retroactively covered by COBRA, right?
If I’m missing some detail here please let me know.
@Jo-when did COBRA stop working retroactively? You seem to know something I don’t. It’s always worked retroactively as long as any past premium is paid, and it dates back to the date of coverage ending. You seem to have found something out that I didn’t know had changed!
@Jo- COBRA works quite differently than normal insurance policies. Do you have specific knowledge of COBRA, or are you just stating what a normal policy does?

Sarah Fields answers:

Yes, you are correct.
You can have 63 days without insurance for continuous coverage to be in effect. And you can elect cobra for 60 days. The start date always goes back to the first date without coverage.

If your insurance ends June 15th and your new insurance is in place before August 18th (or whatever it is if you count 63 days), you are all good.
– Most employer based insurance starts 90 days after hire (although it could be date of hire, 30 days, or 60 days based on company policy = 90 days is the most common). You can also attempt to negotiate a sooner insurance start date.

As for your pregnancy = this has nothing to do with the insurance…. But thought I’d give you a head’s up… If you are the one that is working, you will not be eligible for any type of job protection maternity leave at the new company. To be eligible for any job protected medical leave, you must have worked for the company for at least 1 year. If you are 6 weeks pregnant, you won’t have the tenure. This means that the company can let you go on the first day you are out or they can actually say they will hold your job and then change their mind.
= the law is Family Medical Leave Act (or California Family Rights Act, if you are in CA).
To be eligible for cobra, the company you currently work at must have 20 or more employees. If the company has less than that, unless the company is located in a state with mini-COBRA you won’t be eligible for cobra.

Mark asks…

Is it personally responsible to not have health-insurance and pass the cost to taxpayers…?

through emergency room drain? That doesn’t sound personally responsible to me. It makes sense to have everyone purchase health insurance because if they don’t, that cost gets passed to everyone.

Sarah Fields answers:

The cost of private health insurance is out of reach for many people. If one isn’t working, because they can’t find a job, even the cost of Cobra isn’t much cheaper.

If one can afford it and doesn’t have it, then it is irresponsible for them not to have health insurance.

If one is poor, or near/at the poverty level states have state funded insurance, Medicaid, or in California, Medi-Cal. Given that there are health programs for low in come people, they should take advantage of it. I believe it’s free, so there would be no cost for the individual, they would have a Doctor and wouldn’t have to go to emergency rooms.

Without getting into a discussion about illegal immigrants, they will go to emergency rooms. As a nurse I know that the legal, or illegal question isn’t asked and if these patients need care, they would be transferred to county hospitals for further care.
Illegals also somehow get state funded insurance, but my experience has been they are only covered for emergencies. The illegal immigration problem definitely a burden on tax payers, but that’s all I’ll say about that.

It is irresponsible not to have health insurance if you can afford it, but don’t want to pay for it and equally irresponsible not to have Medi-Caid, ot Medi-Cal if you qualify.

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