COBRA Bites!

Part of the recently enacted stimulus bill says the government will pay up to 65% of the cost of health insurance from former employers for some unemployed Americans. But for some families that help was too late…

“That was my main concern… my children. God forbid they break a leg, they break an arm. You have to have coverage. It’s just not worth taking the risk.”
-Lisa Merkin, Laid Off

Insurance-wise, Lisa Merkin’s layoff a few month’s back couldn’t have come at a worse time. She was expecting her fifth child and had no health insurance. She could have kept her former employer’s coverage…until she learned why they call it COBRA.

“It bites you, just like a snake! I could have COBRA’d the insurance, but it would have cost me a thousand dollars to COBRA for the children. If I went on to my husband’s insurance, it would have cost us $1,500 a month.”
-Lisa Merkin

Now, thanks to the stimulus bill, Uncle Sam will pay up to 65% of COBRA. But that’s no help to Lisa.

“That wont help me. It will only help the people who get laid off from I believe it’s March 18th on. It won’t help people that have already been laid off and as you know there are 10s of thousands of people who have been laid off.”
-Lisa Merkin

But this story isn’t an unhappy one. Because when Lisa found out what COBRA costs, she got online and found a policy that provided major medical for a fraction of that price.

“If I had stayed with Cobra I would have paid about $1200. Finding insurance on my own, very similar insurance other than the deductible I paid $400, and that includes dental.”
-Lisa Merkin

So Lisa accomplished the same thing with smart shopping that Uncle Sam offered: about 2/3s off the COBRA bill.

Granted, her policy isn’t as good… she has to pay the first $5,000. But it’s a lot better than nothing. And something to keep in mind if you’re out of work, run out of government assistance, or otherwise find that COBRA bites.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
5 Ways Your Phone Can Slash Grocery Costs
5 Ways Your Phone Can Slash Grocery Costs

These free apps and websites can help you get cash back on groceries, shop more efficiently or squeeze the most from the ingredients you have on hand.

10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself
10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself

Making any of these key foods yourself will improve meals — and your budget.

Why Cutting the Cord Can Be Confusing — and How to Decide If It’s for You
Why Cutting the Cord Can Be Confusing — and How to Decide If It’s for You

Streaming TV might sound like the antidote to sky-high cable bills, but cutting the cord is easier said than done.

The Best and Worst States for Raising a Family in 2021
The Best and Worst States for Raising a Family in 2021

These states have big advantages or disadvantages when it comes to choosing a home for your family.

America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise
America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise

Have you heard of this appliance manufacturer?

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.