Comprehensive COBRA Insurance Information

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Illinois COBRA Insurance

In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of Illinois also offers an extended COBRA insurance plan for employees at companies with between 2-19 employees. This means that even if you do not meet the requirements for federal COBRA insurance, you may still be eligible for COBRA insurance coverage in Illinois. This law is called Illinois Health Insurance Continuation Rights Law.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Illinois Health Insurance Continuation insurance coverage, you must have been covered by the employer group health insurance plan employment loss and have a qualifying event that entitles you to COBRA insurance. You also can not qualify for federal COBRA insurance. As with federal COBRA laws, your beneficiaries are also eligible for COBRA insurance in Illinois. You are not eligible for Illinois Health Insurance Continuation insurance if you are eligible for Medicare or if you qualify for another group health insurance plan.

Signing Up: To sign up for the Illinois Health Insurance Continuation insurance coverage, you must apply in writing 10 days before your coverage is scheduled to end. You also must pay the COBRA premium in advance. Your employer and the group health insurer should provide you with an election notice for COBRA insurance when your employment ends, however you should immediately reach out to your insurer if you do not receive notification.

Length of Coverage: Illinois Health Insurance Continuation insurance covers you for 9 months from the day your group health insurance plan stopped coverage. Your dependents can be covered for a time period of up to 2 years. This applies to former employees, spouses, and dependents.

Termination: Illinois Health Insurance Continuation insurance can be terminated for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons for termination of Illinois Mini COBRA insurance coverage is failure to pay premiums, termination of the group health insurance plan by the employer.

For help electing for Illinois Health Insurance Continuation insurance, you may consider contacting the following state agencies.

Illinois Division of Insurance - Office of Consumer Health Insurance
320 West Washington Street
Springfield, Illinois 62767
Phone: 877-527-9431

U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Chicago Regional Office (Northern IL)
200 West Adams Street, Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 312-353-0900
Fax: 312-353-1023

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I send my monthly COBRA insurance premiums?

Since COBRA insurance is the law that allows you to maintain your health insurance not the actual insurance, you will send the monthly premiums to your group health insurance company. This is the same one that you had when you were employed. Normally the address is located on your COBRA election form and if you can no find that, you can call your former employer or the health insurance provider.

Will COBRA insurance work outside of the United States?

That all depends on the type of health insurance plan that you had with your previous employer. If the insurance company would have covered you if you moved out of the country, then they still will. However, most insurance plans only work in a select area and will not work oversees, therefore meaning COBRA insurance will not work outside of the United States. You can contact your health insurance provider to find out if you will be covered out of the country.

Should I sign up for COBRA insurance if I only need insurance for a month?

As long as your new insurance will kick in within the 60 day window you have to elect to sign up for COBRA insurance, there is no need to sign up for COBRA insurance. The reason for this is that you elect to sign to sign up for COBRA insurance on the 60th day, your health insurance will be retroactive until the last day of your employment. That means that if for any reason you got sick or needed medical attention during the 60 days, you could then just pay the premium and be covered for those expenses. If you don't end up needing medical attention in those 60 days then you didn't waste the money paying for the two months of premiums. Essentially, you would actually never be without coverage, since you can activate it at any time within the 6o days and cover the full term.

Your other option would be to sign up for a short term health insurance plan, which can be anyway from 1 day to 1 year, at a much cheaper rate than COBRA. This would cover you for any major medical costs.

Are there good COBRA insurance alternatives if I have a preexisting condition?

Likely, COBRA insurance will be your best option if you have a preexisting condition. However it is always worth it to explore alternative options and explain your condition to find out if there is a cheaper option even though you have a preexisting condition. Either way, it is incredibly important to keep some type of medical insurance.

Is it hard to find a new doctor if I sign up for COBRA insurance?

Since COBRA insurance is just the law that allows you to continue to maintain your group health insurance plan, finding a doctor will be the exact same as it was on the plan you had while you were working. Remember COBRA just allows you to keep that plan. This means that you can keep all the same doctors and finding a new doctor falls under the same restrictions as it did while you were employed.

Can I get COBRA insurance when my student insurance ends?

It depends on your university's insurance plan and how many people are covered under the plan. There is a possibility that you can sign up to keep your health insurance from the university under COBRA insurance. You should contact the health insurance provider/contact on campus to find out more information and/or call the insurance company themselves.

Can I get COBRA insurance if I worked for a small company?

It depends on the size of your company and the number of employees covered under their insurance plan (either full time or their part time equivalents. Federal COBRA insurance only applies to companies who cover at least 20 employees. However, many states have created their own COBRA insurance laws to offer extended coverage to employees at companies with between 2-19 employees. Learn more about state sponsored COBRA insurance.

How many days do I have to elect COBRA insurance?

Under the current law, you have 60 days to decide if you want to elect COBRA insurance. During that time it is important that you explore all of your options to make sure that is the right plan for you. The exact date that you need to make an enrollment decision will be listed on your COBRA insurance election form.

How do I add a dependent to my COBRA insurance?

Since COBRA insurance is just a law that enables you to continue to have access to your previous group health insurance, you would take the same steps to add a dependent. First contact your health insurance provider (not COBRA which is just the law that allows this) and find out their policy for adding a dependent.

I just qualified for Medicare, can my family still receive COBRA insurance?

Yes - if you were the one who was providing the COBRA insurance policy (i.e. COBRA kicked in because you no longer were covered due to job loss/quitting and elected to continue to keep your group health insurance with COBRA). Under the COBRA insurance laws, this is known as a secondary qualifying event which will allow your family to be covered for an additional 7 months.

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