One month ago, I notified my boss at the corporation where I worked that I would be leaving. I was headed for the new frontier. Leaving my salary and benefits behind, I looked to the horizon and contemplated what I needed to do in order to keep my life secure. My biggest concerns besides maintaining my income were health insurance, structure and motivation, saving for retirement, and the human connection. I’ve taken some steps to keep myself moving forward already; the first step has been regarding my health insurance.
Last month, I didn’t know what to expect regarding COBRA coverage. My notice arrived last week, and with the cost in hand, I’m ready to decide whether to continue the same coverage I had from my former employer through COBRA or to seek opening a plan from New Jersey’s list of providers. The same plan (Aetna HMO) costs about 10% less when enrolled through COBRA compared to the state’s price. Apex was spot on with his comments. My state does regulate the pricing scheme, but my expectations for COBRA’s prices were way off.
I like the plan I had at my company (or would have had in 2011 — there was a slight change to include a low deductible), so rather than shopping for something new, even if something else would be less expensive, I’ve accepted COBRA coverage.
The tougher question is whether to continue my dental insurance coverage. For $575, I can continue my coverage, which paid for 100% of the negotiated rates for covered services. My annual expenses, consisting of the co-insurance I’ve paid at each dentist visit, add up to about the same amount each year. I could reduce some of the services I get. Yet, I prefer having the peace of mind that if something were to go wrong with my teeth that would not be covered by medical insurance, I would still be covered. I’ve accepted dental coverage through COBRA as well.
The process of accepting coverage was surprisingly easy. I logged into a website administered by the third party company acting as a firewall between the insurer and me. The site confirmed my identity using just my Social Security number and I was able to create yet another account on yet another website. There are options to accept coverage my mail or by phone, as well.
Even though the choice of continuing my coverage under COBRA was an easy decision to make and the process for making that choice was easy, it seems to be the best option out of the choices offered by the insurance companies directly to consumers in New Jersey.
Photo: The Bode
Published or updated January 3, 2011.