It appears that the question “Can anyone spare a quarter?” is not one you need to be worried about when your life is on the line. But one couple found out exactly how dire of a situation a little more than a quarter could get them into after the husband’s health coverage was terminated months before he was scheduled for a bone marrow transplant to treat his leukemia. The reason? A $0.26 shortfall on a monthly COBRA premium. [More]
Laid-off workers who relied on COBRA subsidies to help pay for health insurance saw the benefits end Wednesday. Under the program, the government paid 65 percent of COBRA costs with federal stimulus dollars. Wednesday saw the end of 15 months of extended subsidies for those who lost their jobs between September 2008 and May 2010. [More]
Sarek tells the story of how he was able finally get a “certificate of creditable coverage” from his COBRA administrators. After many moons of pleas, what it finally took was writing a physical letter to the presidents of each four companies at the same time. At the top of the letter was the address of each of the other companies so that all knew that he was showing off their unsightly bits to the other. [More]
Reader Laura had Kaiser Permanente health insurance through her employer. When she lost her job, she paid Kaiser directly for COBRA coverage. She stuck with the company for her employer-subsidized health insurance when she started a new job earlier this year, and was under the impression that the COBRA plan would end when her new coverage began. It didn’t.
When she couldn’t convince anyone in first-line customer service that she really, really didn’t mean to have two separate insurance plans simultaneously, she did some research and launched an executive e-mail carpet bomb at the company, bringing the bureaucratic stupidity to the attention of someone with actual power.
The wife of a Vietnam War vet with multiple myeloma accidentally typed a “7” instead a “9” when she made a payment to Ceridian, the company that administers his COBRA benefits, meaning the $328.69 payment was short by two cents. And as the couple learned, being .006% in arrears is enough to have one’s health coverage canceled. [More]
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided a 65% reduction in premiums for health benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, which you probably know as COBRA. Now the benefits are ending for the first wave of unemployed people who signed up at the beginning of the program. [More]
Kiplinger lists four ways you can still get some cash back from the government, although you’d better get a move on if you want to qualify. Included are a first-time home buyer’s credit that goes away November 30th, a new car tax credit, a COBRA premium subsidy for people laid off, and a slight unemployment payment benefit.
One of the programs of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is COBRA Continuation Coverage Assistance. It helps people who have lost their jobs pay the sometimes hefty premiums for continued health insurance coverage, paying 65% of their premium. The program started in February, and Renee was enrolled right away. This month she was billed for her full premium again with no warning.
A saleswoman for Zales who had earned 5 diamonds and almost a dozen commendations over the past 4 1/2 years—she’s the area’s first employee to earn a million dollars in sales in one year—was terminated last month, one week after she requested time off to have surgery for a life-threatening aortic aneurysm.
Walgreen has announced that if you’re willing to provide proof of unemployment and sign a form that says you lost your health benefits along with your job, you and your uninsured family members can receive free treatment at any of their 300+ in-store health clinics. What’s covered: “respiratory problems, allergies, infections and skin conditions, among other ailments.” What’s not: checkups, vaccinations or other injections, and prescriptions.
Jason writes in with an ethics question that’s been bothering him for the past seven years: should he have helped a cancer-stricken patient who lost her family in the 9/11 attacks qualify for COBRA coverage? Sure, it sounds like a no-brainer, but it gives us a chance to see the sort of conflicts that gnaw at customer service representatives. Do they follow the rules and keep their jobs, or do the right thing and help the customer? Consider his conundrum, inside…
Richard O’Connor, the Vice President of Marketing for Aetna, might want to rethink how his department handles its customer retention program in this economy, particularly when it comes to telling people that they’re still valued even though they’ve been let go. Chris received just such a letter today, and now the VP of his company’s HR department is trying to figure out why Aetna fired Chris.
I recently had a change in health benefits and Pacificare was the provider. I am using the corporate names because it is unconscionable what they have done and I do not wish to protect the guilty. To be brief my wife suffered a stroke 3 years ago and takes seizure medication 5 times daily.