The New York Times offers these very useful tips, with regards to managing your health care coverage if you have been recently laid off or fear that a layoff may be in your future. I must admit that a cloud of employment uncertainty follows me around each day at work, and this article came across my desk at just the right time. It’s time for me to get on the phone and make some doc appointments, even if I’m technically not “scheduled” to see said doctors a month or two from now. I’m moving those appointments up and plan to flex that flexible spending account. Here are some tips from the article:
Use it before you lose it.
Sign onto your spouse’s plan.
Get to know Cobra.
If you do choose Cobra, pace yourself.
Try to negotiate health care as part of your severance.
If you have a flexible spending account — use it.
I’ve been laid off from every major job that I have had, for a total of three times. I have been on Cobra insurance each of those times and it has always been a financial drain. Needless to say, I am very interested to learn more about the Cobra subsidy that this article also mentions:
The new federal stimulus plan that President Obama recently signed into law does provide some temporary relief for laid-off workers. But even if you qualify for the subsidy, you’ll still pay 35 percent of the total health premium, compared to the 10 or 15 percent you paid as an employee. So you might be paying $300 to $400 or more a month. And that is for only the first 9 months of the 18-month Cobra coverage. For the second nine months you’ll be paying full fare.
I plan to do some research on the Cobra subsidy and post more information about it soon. In the meantime, take these tips to heart and execute your due diligence. Our bodies and pocketbooks will thank us.