First Things First

The COBRA coverage itself is not necessarily a negative, large employer-sponsored plans can have lower deductibles, out of pocket maximums and lower coinsurance than plans available in the individual market.

If you are eligible for the APTC, that can become irrelevant, because the premium under the ACA could be so dramatically lower, that the coverage differences do not matter. This is the important takeaway here. Jae’s Corner never advocates “use all your money to pay for insurance that you may or may not need.” However, the point is that you need to actually calculate (nothing fancy, adding and subtracting will do).

  • “It’s like gambling”: that is what some people say. They are those who cannot or will not do the adding or subtracting. If you are Mr Perfect or Mr Sickalot, then you will have very very different view points on the premium differences. To Mr Perfect, who is APTC-eligible, it is most likely that COBRA is a no.

  • The differences here can be greater than $10,000 a year in premiums, this isn’t a small number. You notice that financial people like to talk about “sequence risk,” which occurs when you lose a lot at the beginning. They somehow forget to mention the other side of the coin: I am describing a sequence gain, not a sequence loss.

It is usually the case that you cannot transfer any payments that you have made to your deductible to a new policy. There can be exceptions but they would be very rare.