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Alice McKenney on July 13, 2009
The Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC), mentioned in a previous blog, is a fountain of information for those who need cancer-related legal counseling. Joanna Morales, Esq. is the Director of the CLRC. She spoke at our "Legal and Insurance Questions Answered" teleconference. Many relevant questions came up during that conference, so please see below for some of the more popular ones:
Can you utilize a HIPAA plan if COBRA is available to you?
In order to be eligible for a HIPPA plan, you have to have exhausted your COBRA coverage, so you wouldn't be able to jump straight to a HIPAA plan. If you don't use up your COBRA coverage, then HIPAA isn't an option for you, so you would be looking at something like a major risk plan or a high risk insurance pool or a Medicaid plan in your state or Medicare if you qualify for either of those programs, which is why it's so important to try to keep your COBRA coverage because that opens up possibilities that are available to you indefinitely.
What if you can't afford COBRA?
If you can't afford your COBRA plan, right now there is the [federal] subsidy. There is also the HIPP program in some states, where if you have an income and an asset level low enough to qualify you for Medicaid, you will actually get your health insurance premiums paid for you by Medicaid rather than having to actually going on to Medicaid. It's cheaper for the state to pay your private health insurance premiums than to pay for all of your care. So the HIPP program is one option that's available, and then there are a number of private organizations that do provide assistance with paying for COBRA premiums or co-pays. (For more information on these, please visit http://disabilityrightslegalcenter.org/about/documents/FinancialAssistanceNational.pdf)
Do you need more personalized legal help? Contact the CLRC at www.cancerlegalresourcecenter.org.
Are you a healthcare professional? Then take the CLRC's survey so that they can provide relevant info to you in the future. The survey is located here.