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The Pros and Cons of COBRA Health Insurance Coverage


The Pros and Cons of COBRA Health Insurance Coverage

Table of Contents

Have you ever worried about losing your health insurance after leaving a job? The thought can be daunting, but there’s an option available that could provide a temporary solution. COBRA, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, might be the answer you’re looking for. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of COBRA health insurance coverage, consider some alternatives, and help you make an informed decision. By understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each option, you can confidently choose the right health insurance solution for your unique situation.

What is COBRA?

COBRA is a federal law that allows you to temporarily maintain your employer-sponsored health insurance coverage after you’ve lost your job or experienced a reduction in work hours. Under COBRA, you can continue your health insurance coverage for up to 18 months, or in some cases, up to 36 months.

Pros of COBRA

Maintaining Your Current Plan

One of the main advantages of COBRA is the ability to keep your current health insurance plan. This means you’ll maintain the same level of coverage, with the same deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket maximums, providing a sense of stability during a challenging time. For example, if you’ve recently undergone surgery and require follow-up care, COBRA coverage allows you to continue seeing the same healthcare providers without disruption.

Avoiding New Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions

Since you’re continuing your existing plan, you won’t have to worry about any new pre-existing condition exclusions or waiting periods when you start using COBRA coverage. This can be a significant relief for those with ongoing health concerns who may otherwise struggle to find affordable coverage.

Preserving Your Network of Providers

Another benefit of COBRA is that you’ll have access to the same network of healthcare providers. This can be particularly important if you have established relationships with doctors or specialists who may not be in-network with a new plan. Imagine having a rare health condition that requires specialized care; maintaining your current provider network through COBRA can ensure you continue to receive the necessary treatment.

Comparing Options with Time on Your Side

COBRA gives you breathing room to compare different health insurance options and make an informed decision without feeling rushed. You’ll have 60 days from the date of your qualifying event to elect COBRA coverage, providing ample time to research and weigh your alternatives.

Cons of COBRA

Managing the High Cost of Coverage

The biggest drawback of COBRA coverage is the cost. When you’re on COBRA, you’re responsible for the entire premium, including the portion your employer used to cover. This can make COBRA significantly more expensive than your previous coverage, potentially straining your budget during an already difficult time.

Limited Duration of Coverage

COBRA coverage is temporary, lasting only 18 to 36 months, depending on your situation. This means that you’ll need to find new coverage once your COBRA eligibility ends. For those who have difficulty finding affordable coverage, this time limit can be a significant source of stress.

Potential Loss of Subsidies

By choosing COBRA, you may miss out on premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions available through the Health Insurance Marketplace. These subsidies can help lower the cost of coverage and make it more affordable for eligible individuals. For example, a single parent with limited income may find it more cost-effective to enroll in a Marketplace plan with subsidies rather than continuing with COBRA coverage.

Alternatives to COBRA

Investigating Individual Marketplace Plans

Instead of opting for COBRA, you can explore individual plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace. These plans may offer more affordable coverage, especially if you qualify for subsidies. Additionally, you’ll have a variety of plan options to choose from, making it more likely that you’ll find one that suits your needs.

Considering Short-Term Health Insurance

Short-term health insurance plans are another option to consider. While they typically offer more limited coverage and may not cover pre-existing conditions, they can be a cost-effective solution for those who need temporary coverage until they find a more permanent option.

Checking Eligibility for Medicaid

Depending on your income and household size, you may qualify for Medicaid, a state and federal program that provides low-cost or free healthcare coverage. Investigating this option could save you money and provide comprehensive coverage based on your needs.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Choosing the right health insurance option can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. By contacting US Health Insurance Online or calling 888-225-1578, you can connect with experienced and licensed agents who can provide personalized recommendations based on your unique situation. They can help you navigate the complexities of the health insurance landscape, ensuring you make an informed decision and find the coverage that’s right for you.


COBRA health insurance coverage can be a valuable lifeline when you lose your job or experience a reduction in work hours. While it offers the advantage of maintaining your current health insurance plan and network of providers, the high cost and temporary nature of COBRA can be significant drawbacks. Before making a decision, explore alternatives such as individual marketplace plans, short-term insurance, and Medicaid. By weighing the pros and cons and seeking professional guidance, you can make an informed choice that best meets your health insurance needs.


  1. Who is eligible for COBRA health insurance coverage? Individuals who lose their job, have a reduction in work hours, or experience other qualifying life events, such as divorce or death of a covered employee, may be eligible for COBRA coverage.
  2. How long does COBRA coverage last? COBRA coverage generally lasts for 18 months but can be extended up to 36 months in certain situations, such as disability or a second qualifying event.
  3. How much does COBRA coverage cost? COBRA coverage can be expensive, as you’re responsible for the entire premium, including the portion your employer used to cover. This can make COBRA significantly more costly than your previous coverage.
  4. When do I need to decide if I want COBRA coverage? You have 60 days from the date of your qualifying event to elect COBRA coverage. If you don’t elect COBRA within this period, you’ll lose your right to the coverage.
  5. Can I switch to a different health insurance plan while on COBRA? Yes, you can switch to a different plan during the annual Open Enrollment Period or during a Special Enrollment Period if you experience a qualifying life event, such as marriage or the birth of a child.