I'm sorry to hear of your situation.
The employer is not legally obligated to continue your health coverage beyond the time that you are eligible for FMLA leave, and the fact that you have exhausted the FMLA time, even if the employer is holding your position for you, means that you are now eligible only for COBRA coverage.
It is true that COBRA coverage will cost more, as you now must pay not only your share of the premium but the share that your employer was paying as well in order to maintain coverage. You either have to pay for the coverage or you don't get it.
If you lose your insurance coverage, you will have to pay for all of your medical expenses yourself---and based on the medical problems that you have disclosed, that would be financial suicide to try and go that route. You really MUST continue your health coverage even if it means that other bills go unpaid.
With all respect intended, like so many other folks out there in your situation, you confuse a money problem with a legal problem. There is no legal solution to the fact that you don't have money you need. You need to develop a non-legal strategy for dealing with your financial problems.
You are better off not paying your rent or your car payment and still having medical coverage---as opposed to not having coverage, not being able to get medical care and possibly having serious medical conditions go untreated because you gave up your coverage.
If you have a retirement plan, consider drawing money from it to pay for medical coverage. Consider selling possessions, or borrowing money from friends or family to pay for health coverage---do anything but
simply allow the coverage to lapse. The financial cost to you in the long run may literally financially devastate you for many, many years to come if you allow the coverage to lapse---because of uncovered medical expenses you will have in the future, as well as the difficult time you will have in the future of getting medical coverage given your serious pre-existing medical conditions. I'm sorry, there is no good solution to your dilemma---other than you can not afford NOT to have insurance at this point in your life.
I wish you the best in 2012.
I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation, nor was it what I sensed you were hoping to hear. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.
Because I help people here, like you, for a living---this is not a hobby for me, and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX abiding by the honor system as regards XXXXX XXXXX I wish you and your family the best in your respective futures.
Would you be so kind as to Accept my Answer so that I may be compensated for assisting you? Bonuses for greatly informative and helpful answers are very much appreciated. Thanks Again,