Social Security Disability and Cobra
A recent article online mentioned what is a huge problem for most individuals filing for disability: health insurance coverage, or the lack of it. It also stated that Cobra benefits can be of assistance for individuals who are waiting on an answer from the social security administration.
As a disability examiner for the social security administration, I spoke with claimants who were at the initial stages of the social security disability process. Even then, many of them had difficulty getting seen by a doctor due to the lack of medical insurance. When I became involved with claimants who had been denied for disability and were seeking to appeal, I found that the majority by far no longer had insurance. This meant that they either had to pay out of pocket for medical care, or had to find alternative treatment sources (emergency rooms, free clinics, county health departments).
I seldom, however, came across an applicant for SSD benefits or SSI benefits who had elected to take Cobra. And the reason should be no mystery. Cobra is expensive, very expensive. And for someone who no longer has income from a job and is burning through savings simply to pay rent/mortgage, utilities, food costs, and essential bills such as a car payment and vehicle insurance, Cobra is simply often out of reach.
The writers of the article I mentioned may disagree. But I know this is the scenario even for high wage earners. To cite an example, I have a friend who worked as a network administrator. He was laid off in March of 2008. He did not take Cobra and no longer has health insurance. "Why? Because his savings are being used simply to make his mortgage payment and pay his recurring monthly bills and food costs. For him, even earning more than seventy thousand dollars a year, Cobra was not financially an option.
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