Ohio COBRA Insurance
In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of Ohio 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 Ohio.
Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Ohio COBRA insurance, you must have been covered by the employer group health insurance plan employment loss for at least 3 months, have a qualifying event that entitles you to COBRA insurance, be eligible for unemployment insurance, and have been terminated involuntarily. You also can not qualify for federal COBRA insurance. As with federal COBRA laws, your beneficiaries are also eligible for COBRA insurance in Ohio. You are not eligible for Ohio COBRA insurance if you are eligible for Medicare or if you qualify for another group health insurance plan.
Signing Up: To sign up for the Ohio COBRA insurance coverage, you must apply in writing after employment loss. 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: Ohio COBRA insurance covers you for 6 months from the day your group health insurance plan stopped coverage. This applies to former employees, spouses, and dependents.
Termination: Ohio COBRA insurance can be terminated for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons for termination of Ohio COBRA insurance coverage is failure to pay premiums, termination of the group health insurance plan by the employer.
For help signing up for Ohio COBRA insurance, you may consider contacting the following state agencies.
Ohio Department of Insurance
50 W. Town Street, Suite 300, Third Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 644-2658
Consumer Hotline: (800) 686-1526
U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Cincinnati Regional Office
1885 Dixie Highway, Suite 210
Ft. Wright, KY 41011-2664
Phone: (859) 578-4680
Fax: (859) 578-4688
Frequently Asked Questions
Does COBRA insurance qualify as creditable coverage?
Yes - electing to continue your health insurance coverage with COBRA insurance, will qualify as creditable coverage (under the HIPAA) law. Creditable coverage helps ensure that you are not excluded from a health insurance policy in the future due to a preexisting condition.
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 change my COBRA insurance plan for a private medical insurance plan?
Under the COBRA insurance law, you can drop COBRA insurance at any time as long as you inform your insurance provider. This means that you can at any time convert to a private health insurance plan. Just be careful that when you drop COBRA insurance your other plan has started so you don't experience a lapse in coverage.
How do I apply for state sponsored COBRA insurance?
Every state has a specific application process to receive state sponsored COBRA insurance. Generally, you will need to request an election form from your employer and will have between 14-60 days to submit your form and pay the initial premium. On this form, you will have to prove that you are eligible and provide personal information for everyone you wish to remain on the plan under COBRA.
I just had a baby, can I add him/her to my COBRA insurance plan?
It all depends on the health insurance policy that you chose to continue under the COBRA insurance law. Each group health insurance company has different policies so you will want to call your insurance provider. Under most policies you will be allowed to add your baby once you give birth.
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.
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.
Can my COBRA insurance premiums change?
Yes. Since COBRA insurance is just a continuation of your group health insurance plan, any changes to that plan, including an increase or decrease in premium costs, will also affect your premium cost under COBRA insurance. Your bill will reflect any changes in costs for the premium. COBRA insurance premiums cannot be locked in at any point.
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 cover my children with COBRA insurance and not myself?
When you receive the COBRA insurance election form, you will have an option to choose who you want to be covered under the COBRA insurance continuation of your group health insurance plan. This means that you can choose to cover only your children, only your spouse, only yourself, or any combination depending on your needs.
You may want to consider who needs to keep the current health insurance plan under COBRA insurance the most (i.e. someone with a preexisting condition or someone who needs consistent medical care) and cover other family members on a less expensive plan.