It’s Your Money Column – More Health Insurance Considerations

Last week I wrote about options for handling health insurance for folks who are between jobs. Joyce Kiskis, a local health insurance specialist, sent some good ideas about health insurance.

Many unemployed people need to know about health care alternatives in addition to COBRA, since COBRA or Colorado Continuation costs can be expensive – as much as $500 to $800 per month. If an employer has been paying all or most of health benefits, this big bill now can be devastating!

Few small employers have a human resource staff that can explain to laid-off employees that all family members don’t have to take COBRA. Instead, a family can elect COBRA coverage for pre-existing conditions for one or more family members with health problems or ongoing prescription needs. A perfectly healthy dependent or even the employee could apply for a less expensive medical plan and significantly lower their costs. In some cases, however, a higher COBRA premium that covers all prescriptions can be a good value.

CoverColorado, a non-profit organization, offers full-coverage, major medical insurance to Colorado residents who have been denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. If you have a pre-existing medical condition and are 1) an employee or dependent of an employee of a company that does not offer health insurance; 2) a temporary, seasonal or part-time worker who is not eligible for an employer health insurance plan; 3) retired with no previous employer plan and not eligible for Medicare; 4) a full-time student not eligible under parents’ plan; 5) a widow or divorced and no longer covered by spouse’s plan; or 6) have been terminated from work and not eligible for Colorado continuation or conversion coverage, you should look into CoverColorado. Check the CoverColorado web site at

Non-smoking folks over the age of 50 should look into a high-deductible medical plan with prescription benefits. This can end up being affordable when compared to the high COBRA or Continuation premiums.

The CHP+ plan for families with children uses current income to evaluate eligibility, and many people DO qualify. You can find more information at

People with new jobs may find their new health insurance has a probationary period of 90 days or so. Purchasing a temporary or short-term policy if the individual does not have significant pre-existing conditions may be a good strategy.

If you have questions about health insurance alternatives, contact Joyce Kiskis at