Alternatives to COBRA Insurance California

Employer-sponsored health insurance can be a great option. But if you quit or get fired, you can lose those benefits. COBRA insurance in California lets you keep your old plan but at a cost.

You'll need to pay the entire cost of the premium, including what your former employer paid. However, you don't have to pay for an expensive plan to get good coverage.

Keep reading to learn about COBRA insurance alternatives.

Spouse or Parent Employer Insurance

One of the best alternatives to COBRA insurance in California is employer-sponsored health insurance through a family member. If you lost your job, consider if you can get coverage through your spouse's job if you're married.

You may also qualify for coverage if you have a domestic partnership with someone. Your spouse or partner can add you to their health insurance plan through their employer.

If you're under 26 years old, you can also get on one of your parent's employer plans. Employers have to offer coverage for their employees' children up to age 26.

Some companies may end the benefits on your 26th birthday, at the end of that month, or at the end of the year. Talk to your relative to see if they're willing to let you join their plan.

Short Term Medical Plans

Short term health insurance is another great COBRA alternative. You can enroll in a short term plan if you can't or don't want to get public or private insurance.

These plans offer enrollment outside of the typical open enrollment period. So if you lose a job in the middle of the year, you won't have to wait for coverage.

The plan will usually start up more quickly, so you don't have to be uninsured for long. When you do get coverage, it can also be a lot more affordable than other insurance plans.

You can get the coverage you need without paying for extras. However, you can only reapply for coverage for up to three years before you will need a new insurance plan.

Covered California Plans

Covered California is the state's version of the Affordable Care Act Marketplace. You can enroll in private health insurance through Covered California, and you can choose the right plan for you.

Medi-Cal is part of the program, and it can help you afford coverage if you're low income. With or without financial assistance, Covered California offers different plan tiers with more or less coverage.

You can decide how much coverage you need and how much you can afford to pay. Then, you can select a plan that works for you.

You'll need to enroll during the open enrollment period or have a qualifying life event. Usually, losing a job means you can qualify to enroll any time during the year.

Non-Exchange Plans

When looking for COBRA insurance alternatives, you can also consider insurance plans that aren't on the state health insurance exchange. In some cases, these plans can be cheaper.

They don't have to meet the requirements of exchange plans, bringing their cost down. However, they aren't the best alternative to COBRA insurance in California if you have a lot of medical expenses.

You may need to end up paying more out of pocket because these plans don't cover as much. But if you're relatively healthy and don't have a ton of prescriptions or doctor visits, you can save money.

You can go directly to an insurance company and buy coverage through them. You can skip the middle man, and you can work with an agent to choose the best plan for you.

Catastrophic Plans

Many people look for alternatives to COBRA insurance because of the cost. If you still can't find an affordable plan, consider catastrophic insurance.

You can qualify for this coverage if you're healthy and under 30 years. If you're older than 30, you can ask for a hardship exemption if you can prove you're unable to afford better coverage.

A catastrophic plan usually covers emergencies and some other basic services. Your deductible will be a lot higher than someone with a more traditional plan.

But your monthly premium will be lower, so you can save money if you're healthy. You can find catastrophic coverage both on and off the insurance exchange.

Health Sharing Plans

You don't need traditional health insurance, and one good substitute to California COBRA insurance is a health sharing plan. These plans aren't technically insurance, but they can help cover your medical bills.

When you enroll in this type of plan, you pool your money with the other participants. Then, that pool is available for anyone to use for health care costs.

Many of these plans have some religious association, but you don't have to be religious to enroll. These plans are excellent if you're healthy and want to keep healthcare costs low.

Because there's no longer an individual mandate, you don't have to pay a penalty for not having traditional insurance.

Primary Care Membership (h2)

Another alternative to consider is a primary care membership. You can find a doctor who offers a monthly plan where you pay a set fee.

Then, you can visit that doctor and get certain services without any extra cost. A primary care membership can be great if you just need basic health care.

If you can get all of your tests and visits at one office, it can be very convenient. Most of these plans are very affordable, and they often cost less than traditional insurance.

Professional Organization Plans 

This option is great for freelancers and business owners. If you can't get traditional insurance through an employer, you can look to relevant professional organizations.

Some organizations offer group coverage for qualifying members. You can find professional groups for almost any industry, and you can ask them about health insurance.

Then, you can get the benefit of group coverage without having a traditional job. You may even have multiple plans to choose from.

Avoiding COBRA Insurance in California

COBRA insurance in California can be a great option when leaving a job. But it doesn't last forever, and it can be expensive.

Luckily, there are multiple alternatives, and some can be very cheap without sacrificing on the quality of care. Keep that in mind next time you need to shop for health insurance.

Do you need to enroll in COBRA insurance alternatives? Contact us to speak with an agent or get a quote today.

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