zombie-healthcareNo, the title is not a Nancy Pelosi joke (tempting as it might be) or a reference to the terribly misguided health care reform efforts making their way through Congress. It’s something much more trivial and humorous.

Under the COBRA health insurance law, people who have employer provided health insurance (i.e., most employed Americans) have the right to continue their employee insurance coverage at their own cost for a period of time after their employment ends. The whole idea—and it’s a very good idea—is to make sure that people don’t find themselves saddled with huge medical debts if they get sick or injured while they happen to be between jobs.

Well, since I’m between jobs (for a couple of days), my former and future employers both provided me with the standard government boilerplate information about COBRA ‘continuation coverage’. I probably won’t need it, but I read through the information anyway just so I’d know what my options were. I got a real kick out of one bit:

“In the case of losses of coverage due to an employee’s death,  . . . , coverage may be continued for up to a total of 36 months.”

Yes, if you lose your employee health insurance because you die, you can extend your coverage under COBRA for up to three years! Even the un-dead need to be able to get their swine flu shots, after all. (And before anybody writes to correct me, yes, I know, this provision is actually intended for dependents like spouses and children who are covered on the decedent’s health care.)