|COBRA can be confusing, but you are not alone. Contact me about your COBRA Insurance issue and we can advise you. I also have Benefit Professionals, Lawyers and Insurance Brokers I rely on when I don't know the answer to your question. Either myself or one of our contributors can help you. Craig Casey, COBRAhealth.com.
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What is your COBRA situation?
26 and over - Because of the new health care law, students under age 25 will be able to stay on their parents health insurance. If you are 26 and over, there are still some things you can do.
Adding Dependents - When you continue coverage under your former employer's health insurance plan via COBRA, so you are entitled to the same rights and benefits as similarly situated employees.
Cobra expiring - COBRA is considered temporary health insurance, since it only last 18-36 months.
There are still some places you can go if your COBRA coverage is terming out.
Dental Insurance - Dental plans can be continued through COBRA. If the full premiums are worth the coverage, is another issue. If your employer submitted to separate health insurance plans for medical, vision and dental coverage, you may select which coverages you want to continue under COBRA. Ask about Dental Insurance and COBRA.
Disability - if you are ruled disabled within 60 days of COBRA enrollment, you can extend the maximum period to up to 29 months. But you will pay 150% of the premium for the coverage. Go to the Disabilty Forum.
Divorce - You must notify the health plan administrator in 60 days of divorce or legal separation to preserve your COBRA continuation rights under your exes company health insurance. Estranged spouses may find out afterwards that their health insurance was terminated during open enrollment. Seek help if you are Divorcing and need COBRA.
Employer Bankruptcy - How It Affects Your COBRA Benefits
If an employer declares bankruptcy, it will generally take one of two forms: reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, or liquidation under Chapter 7. A Chapter 11 (reorganization) usually means that the company continues in business under the Court's protection while attempting to reorganize its financial affairs. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy may or may not affect your pension or health plan. Get advice if your Company has filed BK.
Fired - If you were terminated from an alleged violation of company policy, is there evidence? Sometimes people are fired for made up reasons. So if you are denied COBRA and unemployment, you may want to to appeal the determination to the plan administrator.
Ask on the Gross Misconduct Forum.
Health plan Terminated - Until 2014, there is no mandate for group health insurance. If you health plan is ended, COBRA is over. Usually this happens if the employer is bought, goes bankrupt, or is forced to cut expenses. You can still pay for your healthcare with cash, or explore some other alternatives.
Medicare - You may become eligible because you turned 65 or become disabled. If you had COBRA when you enrolled in Medicare, your COBRA ends on the day you join Medicare. If you already have Medicare, may still be able to enroll in COBRA depending on type of qualifying event. Get help with your Medicare and COBRA conflict.
No Certificate - Once your plan terminates, a certificate of creditable coverage is available from the group health plan administrator or insurer. Some group insurance plans (for example limited indemnity) do not issue certificates, since the time you spend is not creditable. Go to the Certificate Forum.
No Insurance - 52 million Americans were uninsured in 2010. Some people have to make the hard choice or paying food, rent, or health insurance. Here's what you can do if you can't afford any insurance.
No Notice - Unless you are fired for gross termination, become disabled during the COBRA period, divorce or get legally separated, most companies are required to send you a notice. Even if it's a denial letter aka notice of unavailability. Ask if you were not offered COBRA.
Pre existing conditions - over 100 million americans have a chronic medical condition. Help is still available.
Pregnant - If you find become pregnant during COBRA, as long as you are in the early stages of pregnancy, you should be covered. If you are in the later stages, your choices are more limited, you still may have some choices.
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Retirees - Many companies planning on terminating their health plans for retirees. Or capping their contributions towards retirees premiums. Over a third (36 percent) of these firms are considering ending health coverage for retirees age 65 and over within the next 2 years.
Small Employer is defined as a company with under 20 employees. Since about 45 states require continuation of the health plan for mini COBRA, most people will get to continue their health plan under most circumstances. Go to the