Comprehensive COBRA Insurance Information

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Tennessee COBRA Insurance

In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of Tennessee 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 Tennessee.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Tennessee COBRA insurance, 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 Tennessee. You are not eligible for Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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: Tennessee COBRA insurance covers you for 3 months from the day your group health insurance plan stopped coverage. This applies to former employees, spouses, and dependents.

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

For help signing up for Tennessee COBRA insurance, you may consider contacting the following state agencies.

Tennessee Insurance Division
Consumer Insurance Services
500 James Robertson Parkway, 4th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243-0574
Phone: 800-342-4029 or 615-741-2218
Fax: 615-532-7389
http://www.state.tn.us/commerce/insurance/index.shtml

U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Atlanta Regional Office
61 Forsyth Street, SW, Suite 7B54
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-302-3900
Fax: 404-302-3975
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I keep my HSA or flexible spending account with COBRA insurance?

COBRA insurance laws provide that you can continue to maintain your current health insurance plan if you leave or quit our job and meet the COBRA insurance requirements. This means that you can keep all benefits of the previous plan, including HSA and flexible spending accounts under COBRA insurance laws. If you have specific questions about what this looks like you should contact your group health insurance provider.

Can I keep COBRA insurance even if my new job offers health insurance?

Sometimes people may find a new job but still would like to stay on their previous plan with their former employer under COBRA because they prefer that plan. This is completely possible under COBRA insurance laws as long as you do not sign up for the new insurance. However, when your COBRA insurance benefits run out, you will likely want to sign up for your new employers health insurance plan or find a private plan.

Where do I get the COBRA insurance application/enrollment form?

The application for COBRA insurance, also know as the enrollment of election form, should be provided by your employer within 45 days of your last day of work. You can not use a generic form found online to elect COBRA medical insurance so you must reach out to your employer or health insurance company for the form. If 45 days have passed and you are sure you qualify for COBRA insurance, reach out to the Department of Labor at 866-444-3272.

Is there a COBRA application form I can download?

No. COBRA enrollment forms have to be provided by the employer and group health insurance provider. The election forms, although they contain similar information, contain specific individual information about your plan, the premium, and who is covered so they have to be provided by the employer or group health insurance plan. You should receive this from your employer, as it is their legal obligation to provide the COBRA insurance application, but if your are concerned you should reach out to your employer and request the application.

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.

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 apply for COBRA insurance if I quit my job?

One of the great things about the COBRA law is that you are entitled to continue your coverage whether you lost your job voluntarily or involuntarily. This means that even if you quit your job, you and your family can still receive COBRA insurance benefits.

Why would I apply for state sponsored COBRA health insurance?

The most common reason that someone would apply for a state sponsored COBRA insurance plan is because they do not qualify under the federal COBRA insurance laws. In many states, there are state sponsored programs often called Mini COBRA laws or COBRA continuation laws which extend COBRA benefits to people who work at companies of between 2-19 employees and wouldn't be eligible under the federal law.

Is there a grace period before they cancel COBRA insurance if I can't pay?

With most health insurance plans, there is a 30 day grace period, within which you need to pay your COBRA health insurance premium. If you fail to pay the premium within this window it is likely that your COBRA insurance will be cancelled and you will not be able to sign back up.

Can I drop my COBRA insurance coverage at any time?

Of course! COBRA insurance laws are meant to protect people and families while they seek out other health insurance either through an independent company or by becoming employed elsewhere. Therefore, you can drop your COBRA health insurance coverage at any time. You need to notify your group health insurance provider under COBRA when you would like the coverage to end. Make sure to check with your new employer or insurer for when the policy will become active. In many companies, there is a 90 day waiting period until COBRA insurance kicks in.

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