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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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COBRA alternatives

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: Our Daughter is 20 years old and lives in eastern Pennsylvania. She wants to take some time to separate from work to look for a new college and then loose her coverage unless she elects to go the COBRA route. When she enrolls in the fall she my not be attending full time the first semester so she would not be eligible for coverage on her Mother’s policy. What should she do if she has pre-existing conditions? COBRA will be about $400 a month, which is very expensive. Any suggestions you offer would be appreciated.

A: Actually, $400 per month for a health policy that pays the costs of a pre-existing condition is low on a relative scale. Comparable plans offered through the local Blue Cross Association in the Philadelphia area are priced at more than $650 per month for single coverage. Residents in bordering states like New Jersey, New York and Maryland would pay even more. If it is possible to estimate the cost of treatment then it may make sense to purchase insurance without pre-existing condition coverage that would be priced at less than $100 per month. On the other hand, if her medical treatment due to the known medical condition is estimated to cost more than $300 per month, then the COBRA plan is really a bargain. See for more information.


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