This week, we are pleased to spotlight our new COBRA administration partner, Discovery Benefits. Discovery is a COBRA administrator, which means you can use their services to educate your employees about COBRA, enroll people in the plan and track all the information required. We’re proud to recommend their services to you in this area.
But Discovery does more than simply administrate COBRA. It also makes it easier for employees with interrupted coverage to find the plan that’s right for them, whether that plan is through COBRA or not, with a marketplace website that lets people compare COBRA and non-COBRA coverage all in one place.
Now, when an employee loses their job or goes through one of the other qualifying life events for COBRA, instead of having to make choices about COBRA coverage in a vacuum, Discovery lets them evaluate their existing plan alongside all of the other marketplace options. It also lets them enroll in additional benefits, such as dental, life, disability, identity theft and more. The options are nationwide. There’s even a subsidy calculator to help them find out if they’re eligible for an ACA subsidy, and let them compare the cost of COBRA to a marketplace plan. It offers many payment plan options, too.
In short, Discovery makes it easier for people to choose the best fit, given their own personal and financial needs. There are palpable benefits for employers as well, of course. The Discovery Marketplace feature costs employers nothing, and can help them save on their expenses by minimizing claims risk and reducing the number of COBRA enrollees they have on their plans.
Is COBRA Still Relevant?
We all know that losing your employer-sponsored health insurance can be a huge life disruption. Even if you can get coverage elsewhere, such as through the ACA Marketplace, you may need to switch provider networks or start over with a new deductible. If you’re in the middle of an expensive treatment process, or you’ve already contributed a significant chunk of change toward your deductible, transitioning to a new plan can be a true hardship.
That’s where COBRA comes into play. COBRA-eligible individuals have the option to continue with their employer-sponsored coverage, keeping provider networks, continuing on their current deductibles, and getting coverage that’s retroactive to the date on which they lost it. For these reasons, COBRA continues to be relevant and required even in an Obamacare world. If you’ve heard rumors that COBRA requirements are going away, don’t believe them. All indications say that COBRA is here to stay.
However, there’s a problem with COBRA continuation coverage. It’s too expensive for many people. When a person loses the coverage they had through their workplace, they may be shocked to discover how much they would have to pay to continue those benefits through COBRA. The national average family rate for COBRA is $1,100. The national average single rate is $450.
As a result, even when a person needs coverage and would like to keep the network and deductible they had, they may not be able to afford it. A life raft is a wonderful thing – but only if you can reach it. This is why we really like Discovery’s system of presenting a range of health care options – all on one website. If the COBRA plan is too expensive, there are other options to consider.
We’re proud to recommend Discovery as the COBRA administrator for our employer clients. If you’d like to explore the Discovery Marketplace, click here. For more great health insurance cost containment tips, sign up for our blog.