COBRA is expensive. But if I've read the information properly, one has 105 days to pay for COBRA, and if one needs health care within that time frame, one can pay after the healthcare need and still get covered retroactively (otherwise, of course, the time spans the law offers for employees to elect to sign up and start paying would be rather meaningless). So the logical thing to do would be--assuming one and one's dependents do not have large, regular, recurring health care expenses, which of course is *not* the case for everyone--to attempt to wait out the 105 days without paying the hefty COBRA charge. If a major health care bill arrives, then one would have to pay the COBRA fee, but otherwise one does not. I did something similar back in the day when I was in between academic jobs (over a summer break--though I had a gap of a few weeks were I was vulnerable: but I was young, childless, and single).
What are the timelines, procedures, and standards required by the IEA-NEA in order for individual participation in its interest-free strike loan program?
1) You must be an enrolled IEA-NEA member at the time of the loan request and remain a member until the loan is repaid [usually a period of six month repayment.]
2) The local must be on strike at least ten (10) work days and have the likelihood of a missed check (or a check with reduced pay) before an interest-free loan can be provided under this program. The paperwork for the loan is usually processed in such a way that the loan disbursement check would be available at the end of each ten (10) work day period as needed for the duration of the strike.
3) A loan may not be for more than the “net pay”, i.e., your gross pay minus payroll taxes. So for faculty and grad assistants with monthly paychecks the rule of thumb is ½ of the monthly net pay and for civil service employees it is the bi-weekly net pay.
4) If the duration of the strike creates a need to make COBRA payments, the COBRA payment amount may be added to a loan request in addition to the net pay standard above.
5) Individuals must sign the IEA-NEA loan agreement document as well as any loan documents that may be required by the lending institution.
6) A copy of your latest pay stub is needed to substantiate the amount of the loan.
7) More detailed information about specific timelines and paperwork related to loans will be provided by your local Strike Loan Committee if and when a strike action takes place. This may include information required by the lending institution, if needed.
8) Only borrow what you absolutely need.