Cobra Sucks: or why at 42 I want Obamacare to Allow Me Back on My Parent’s Insurance

Dave Atsals

In this age of horrible economic times, amidst constant rallies to restore sanity and/or fear, and/or Honor, or to retrieve the U.S. Soul and/or Other Imortant Things and stuff (God, Zano’s an idiot), I would like to vent my frustration about something completely different, the program known as COBRA. 

COBRA, much like the name implies, really bites.  The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families, who have lost their health benefits, the right to continue group health benefits for limited periods of time under certain circumstances.

Qualified individuals may be required to pay the entire premium for coverage up to 102% of the cost to the plan.  Currently the government is even offsetting some of the cost by paying a percentage of this for the many displaced, disgruntled, and discharged workers across our country.  You know…most of us.

The idea is sound. Let’s face it, people need insurance and this helps people maintain it for a time between jobs.  The operation itself, however, is as dismal as the Daily Discord’s marketing team.  You know…..me.

First, you sign up and you have a large time frame (about 45 days) then payments are due the 1st of each month with a thirty-day grace period.  Basically, I got a monthly payment coupon book with a box on each slip stating payment amount due. 

The block of coupons I received came in on the 15th of the month, so I filled out that month’s coupon, in crayon, and just discarded the coupon sent for the previous month.  I continued to mail my payment in by the first of each month.  Please note, they have no website, or contact number of any kind to make payments.  There’s no way to check on your account—just these old fashioned snail-mail coupons from hell.  In August, I mailed my check out on the fourth, but, heck, you get that 30-day grace period to get it in, right?  Besides, I had never received a late payment notice.  What’s the worst that could happen?

Then I received this letter in the mail on August 16th.  The ‘mailed on date’ was August 10th

Dave Atasls' COBRA letter

Realizing the Family no longer had health insurance (actually hadn’t had any for the last 16 days), I looked through my bills.  I had accrued over $2,000.00 in medical bills during that time period (most of which went to having a mole removed and then placed strategically somewhere else on my person).   Now my mole relocation project (MRP) would not be covered by insurance (to say nothing of my lobomasto-mnemonic-inhibitor—an operation to help me not think about women’s breasts so much).

I called the COBRA people with a verbal tirade that would make the Crank and the Ghetto Shaman proud.  It got me nowhere, just like college. 

I then sent in this letter of appeal:

Dear Cobra Control Services,

This letter is to appeal the termination of my cobra coverage, on July 1, 2010.  I was in error, I believed that the payment I sent in on 8-03-2010 was for August, but it was July’s payment making it after the thirty day grace period.

It was in no way meant to be taken as I wanted to discontinue coverage, which my family needs.  I received no notice as to anything being late and was not aware of my error.  I ask you to consider reinstating my coverage.

If reinstated I would make immediate payment for July and August.

Please contact me at if you have any questions or need further information.

Respectfully submitted,

David Tiberius Atsals

In a letter received from COBRA ten days later I was informed that my appeal was denied and reminded that any medical bills, or mole migration procedures from July 1st on, were now solely my responsibility. 

THANKS!

I have several complaints about this whole confusing process.  No late notices? No way to check account activity?  No notification before the fact that your coverage was terminated?  The worst part of the whole affair, the check I mailed out on August 4th was somehow cashed by them for insurance which no longer existed!

The follow up letter I will be sending COBRA Control Services, LLC will be authored by the Ghetto Shaman and the Crank—after I ply them with enough alcohol, Coca Cola, and nutmeg to “down a rhino.” 

Maybe I’ll even send COBRA a few non-covered bills.  Hell, I can’t afford to pay them anyway.   But I love my new mole!  I look Marilyn Monroe now, sort of, and I can say that now without even thinking about her pookas.   Well, at least not as much.

I then authored this letter to President Obama:

Dear Prez,

Whereas I appreciate extending the coverage to young people until age 26, in my case this falls about 16 years short of the mark.   My parents will happily allow me back on their insurance plan, provided they don’t find out.  Oh, and when you get a chance please shut down COBRA.  It should be replaced with an organization that is at least as technologically savvy as John McCain for fuck’s sake.

Respectfully submitted,

Dave Mortimer Atsals

As Mick Zano would say, I didn’t send the ‘for fuck’s sake’ part, but it was implied.

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