Affordable Care Act: Comparing COBRA to new plans

My son works 15 hours a week. He is a seminary student working on his masters in theology. He was covered under my work insurance, but is now on Cobra since he is 28 years old.

He broke his back 5 years ago. Surgery corrected the spine, but the nerve to his bladder never recovered and so he has to self cath. He is on a number of medications and has frequent office visits with different doctors to maintain and manage pain, recurring infection, etc. He is fully supported by me until he can start working. The little money he does make substitute teaching goes toward his transportation to and from school each weekend. He had to take a loan from the school to help with tuition.

What is his best course of action regarding health care insurance? Stay with Cobra which I pay $300/month or go with government assisted insurance?

Minister’s Mom

Dear Minister’s Mom,

After October 1, you and he can go to and look at your state’s health insurance exchange plans. You can then compare this to the COBRA plan.  Keep in mind that the COBRA plan will end after the 18 months; so he will eventually have to go to a new plan in any case.

With his low income, he will likely qualify for government help to pay for a plan. He may also qualify for help to pay his deductible and co-pays. This may be cheaper than the COBRA plan.

If you live in a state that is offering the Medicaid expansion, he may qualify for Medicaid. Check Kaiser Family Foundation’s List of Medicaid Expansion States. This would, by far, be the least expensive option since there would be no monthly premiums at all. He would only have nominal co-pays.

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Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.