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Ask The Experts: Splitting the Cost of COBRA with the Gov't

Q. Hi Carmen: I’m hoping you can help me since I can’t seem to get an answer from anyone on this! I understand that the government will pay 65 percent of my COBRA payment. I am going to be making my first payment and want to know how to go about it. Should I only pay 35 percent of the payment or what? I would appreciate any help you could give me or if you could point me in the right direction! -Kathy V.

A. Kathy – GREAT question. Here’s how the new COBRA subsidy works: your employer is the one who sends you a bill to pay your monthly premium. So, you should get a bill this month for only 35 percent of your regular coverage costs, however, be very careful. If you get a bill for the full amount, make sure you pay the full amount, NOT only 35 percent of what is being billed to you. For some employers, it can take a couple of months to pass these savings along to you and they may bill you the full 100 percent for a month more or so.

If you don’t pay the full amount on time, they can cancel your coverage so don’t take that risk. If you get billed for 100 percent and pay the full amount, you will get reimbursed for the extra 65 percent. Keep in communication with your COBRA administrator with any and all questions. Your health coverage is definitely something you want to always get right!

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Carmen Wong Ulrich is the host of On The Money