Changing Jobs? – Don’t get bitten by COBRA. Short-term insurance is a great option.

So you did it.  You found that job that you want.  You did the research, put in the time, had the phone interviews, did the in person interview, and got the offer letter.  You just sent your resignation e-mail because you cannot find your boss.  You are looking around your office wondering if you need one box or fourteen to get all the things you acquired over the years to your car.  You have a checklist because you are the kind of person who makes checklists.  You have on there to investigate rolling over your 401K, and somewhere near the bottom, you have, “investigate the cost of COBRA.”  You know about COBRA.  More than a decade ago you used it when you changed jobs, with the new Federal Insurance rules it cannot be worse.  So you do not worry about it.  You might want to rethink that.

Then you get that sheet from HR during your exit interview and find out that COBRA cost is almost four times what you are paying per month.  In that instant, sitting in the HR Managers office, you start to think:  Do I need insurance for a month?  Sure if you were single you could risk it, but you have a family.  Maybe you have a health condition.  You can stock up on meds.  You will be fine.  For a fleeting moment, you wonder if you could retract that resignation letter.  Then you go.  It will work out.  People change jobs all the time.  It will work out.

So there you are, sitting at home trying to figure out how you are going to come up with $2000 for one month of insurance.  This new job is starting to look like a huge mistake.  Stop right there.  You realize that there are insurance plans available thanks to the affordable care act.  You can just do that for a month.  It has to be cheaper.  Surprise, it is cheaper, but you have to commit to using it for the rest of the year.  This is now a total disaster.  You are stressed.  What can be done?

You can use short-term health care.  Insurance companies know that there are people like you out there.  People change jobs all the time; people have life-changing events that make it necessary.   So you do not need to forgo food,  cancel your cable, drop your cell phone, and take money from your savings just to cover the cost of your insurance with COBRA.

Short-term health insurance is the option.  A great place to start is

The deductibles are high; the costs are low, but if something bad happens you are covered.  You will not have to go bankrupt because of a hospital stay.

Things to know, these short-term health insurance providers do have the right to reject customers for pre-existing conditions.  That is why short term policies are cheaper than major medical and or COBRA.  This may mean you have no option other than COBRA if you or a family member has a serious health condition.  These are also short term.  1 to 6 months.  If your new job starts insurance after six months you need to look at something else.  You need to keep these two things in mind.

For most people short-term health is a much better option than COBRA.  It was for me.  Why should changing jobs mean hurting yourself financially?  You have lots of things to worry about: learning new people’s names; where to do to lunch; what are the unwritten rules of the new job; learning your new job.   Taking care of your family should not be one of the things you have to worry about while changing jobs.