Q I just got laid off from my job. What are my health insurance options? Should I use COBRA or shop for health insurance on my own?
The advantage of COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) health insurance is that you can get coverage at the rate your employer gets (buying in bulk), instead of the individual pricing you will get on your own. The other advantage is that if you or family members have pre-existing conditions, you will not see a rate increase and cannot be denied coverage with COBRA.
The disadvantage is these can be fully loaded plans where you're paying for a lot of coverage you do not need. If you and your family are healthy, then you may want to save some upfront money and get on a short-term medical or individual plan. COBRA, regulated by the U.S. Labor Department, can provide you with the same health care coverage as before possibly at a steep price and always for a limited time period.