Monday, August 14, 2006

COBRA: A poisonous way to get health care

According to the Department of Labor,

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events. Qualified individuals may be required to pay the entire premium for coverage up to 102 percent of the cost to the plan.

It's the worst kind of health care, except for no health care. I've been "between jobs" a number of times, and COBRA can really eat a hole in your savings. Between COBRA and rent alone, I'm spending more than I get in unemployment benefits. Of course, NYC is an expensive place to live, but COBRA premiums are outrageous. I'm not comforted by the knowledge that I can deduct them from my taxes.

Also ironic is the poor coverage that my graduate program provides for mental health care. We're supposed to be learning how to treat mental illnesses, and they provide much less coverage than for pregnancy or a host of other "normal" conditions. It infuriates me. When studying for your doctorate in clinical psych, students are often advised to enter therapy. It would help if the school provided decent support for us to do that!
Copyright (c) 2006 "Ayelet Survivor"

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