Saturday, September 17, 2011

COBRA Health Insurance Costs: Here are the Numbers

If the Faculty Association goes on strike, the leadership noted that strikers are covered by COBRA. If the administration is really as malevolent as the FA makes it out to be, then assume a scenario where strikers are left paying the full cost of their health insurance.

How much would that be for a family of four? (For other household configurations, consult this chart. I have a family of four (three dependents) under Health Alliance Illinois. If I went on strike, the cost would be $1,803 + $102 for dental = $1,905. The COBRA rates are roughly the same for other plans.

For more information on COBRA, see

As you can see from the second link, "it's complicated." But learn your rights. 


Dave Johnson said...

The cost is high--but one is still eligible for COBRA for c. 60 days after a strike starts, without losing coverage for pre-existing conditions. What I'm trying to figure out is what happens if one waits to pay (assuming, as is almost certainly the case, that a strike would end before then), and then something happens during those 60 days. If my kid ends up in the ER two days into a strike, I don't know if I can still subsequently pay COBRA and get those costs covered (if at the expensive COBRA rate--but still less than a major ER visit would cost out of pocket).

Back when I was younger (and without a kid) I played the COBRA job while switching between academic jobs over a summer. That is, for most of the summer I was within that 60 day window, and just hoped that I wouldn't need to pay. My assumption then was that I could always sign up for COBRA if something happened in the interim (and end up with very expensive insurance for that summer), rather than paying for said expensive insurance in advance. But maybe I was wrong. Let's see.

i-History said...


You raise a good point and I'm adding two links so people can understand what the 60 days means (plus more info. on COBRA coverage).

I have an intractable pain condition and my daughter has braces this fall ($6,000 without insurance!). So this is a big family issue for us. I'm due for a back procedure that costs $3,500 without insurance. All this fall.

This shouldn't be the ONLY thing people think about but it is simply information to make decisions should there be a strike.