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Ask The Lawyer By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq.

| August 21, 2017

: I received my master’s degree in June, started getting student loan bills in July, and now it looks like I’m about to lose insurance coverage through my dad’s work, since I’ll turn 26 in September. What can I do? I have allergy-induced asthma, and really need good insurance.

ANSWER: You have more options that you think – but you will need to get the process for any of these options going before you turn 26!

First, you may be eligible for insurance through your own employer. Often, employers ask new employees to wait for several months before they become eligible for health insurance and other benefits. But you don’t have to go without insurance in the meantime – you can continue coverage (at your expense) under your father’s plan.

Whether or not you have a new job, if you were covered through a policy through your father’s employer, you are eligible for continuation coverage for up to 18 months under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act – better known as COBRA. The coverage will be available to you at the cost to the company, plus a 2% fee.

COBRA continuation coverage is usually not cheap, but it can be a good way to ensure you have no gaps in insurance, which, in addition to putting you in a bind if you were injured or ill, could also make you liable for the penalty under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Continuation coverage might also be a good idea, while you wait for coverage under an employer-paid or self-paid plan, if you have already met (or almost met) the deductible under your father’s plan — especially if your medical expenses are high, or you anticipate the need for surgery.

If you have not heard from the Administrator of your father’s plan about your COBRA options, you should get in touch with the benefits office at his place of work and explain your situation. They should get the ball rolling, and you should receive a notification of your rights under COBRA, including cost of continuation coverage.

Turning 26 is also a “qualifying event” under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). You may be able to purchase insurance through the marketplace. Depending on your income, you may even qualify for a subsidy. When shopping for a new plan, review the details carefully to make sure the plan you get will cover at least some of your expenses – especially any prescriptions for expensive asthma medications — before you meet the deductible.

If you are denied your right to COBRA continuation, you may wish to be speak with an attorney. The lawyers at GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC are experienced attorneys and are happy to answer your questions. Give us a call for a free initial telephone consultation about your legal needs. For consideration of your questions in our web column, please submit your inquiry on the “Contact Us” page of our website at

Information provided on “Ask the Lawyer” is current as of the date of publication. Laws and their interpretation are subject to change. The material provided through “Ask the Lawyer” is informational only; it should not be considered legal advice. Submitting a question to “Ask the Lawyer” does not create an attorney-client relationship between the person submitting the question and GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC. To view previous columns, please visit our website.

GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC, is a Troy based law firm representing clients from Warren, Sterling Heights, Ferndale, Royal Oak, Oak Park, Oakland and Wayne Counties and all of Southeast Michigan

By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
901 Wilshire Drive, Suite 550
Troy, MI 48084
(248) 247-3300
(248) 247-3310 facsimile

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Category: Featured Column

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