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
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 if I am not a U.S. citizen?
If your worked for a U.S. company that provides health insurance and you meet the federal requirement for COBRA insurance eligibility than you can be covered whether you are a U.S. citizen or not. Make sure to get the COBRA insurance election form from your employer and submit it on time and you should be covered along with your dependents and/or spouse.
Can I sign up for COBRA insurance if I am self employed?
Unfortunately you will not be able to sign up for COBRA insurance if you are self employed. Federal COBRA insurance benefits only extend to people who work for companies with over 20 employees and state sponsored COBRA insurance policies may extend to companies with 2-19 employees. Most likely you will need to seek out COBRA insurance alternatives. The only other option you could possibly explore is if you belong to a group health insurance plan provided by an umbrella network of self employed individuals. If you are part of such a network, you may be eligible for COBRA insurance but you will have to reach out to your plan administrator.
Can I keep the same health insurance plan with COBRA insurance?
That is exactly what COBRA insurance is for. COBRA insurance actually refers to the law that was passed in 1985 and not to a specific type of insurance. The law allows you to keep your current health insurance plan as long as you meet federal requirements which means that yes, you can and will keep the exact same health insurance plan.
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.
Can I continue COBRA insurance just for my spouse?
Yes. When you receive your COBRA insurance enrollment form, you will be able to choose you would like to sign up for COBRA insurance coverage. This means that you can pick and choose who will continue to be covered under the health insurance policy with COBRA. You can choose to just cover your spouse and find alternative insurance for yourself.
Will I need new health insurance cards with COBRA insurance?
Because COBRA insurance is just the law that allows you to keep your health insurance previously provided by your employer, given you meet the requirements, you will not need to get a new health insurance card in most cases. Your health insurance will not change when you sign up for COBRA insurance and therefore you will in most circumstances not need a new health insurance card.
Can my employer deny COBRA insurance benefits?
If you qualify for COBRA insurance under the federal eligibility requirements and have not left your job due to gross misconduct, then your employer can not deny you COBRA insurance benefits. If you think you are unfairly being denied COBRA insurance benefits by your employer you should reach out to the Department of Labor.
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.