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
U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Atlanta Regional Office
61 Forsyth Street, SW, Suite 7B54
Atlanta, GA 30303
Frequently Asked Questions
I signed up for COBRA insurance but never paid the premium because it is too expensive, am I still covered?
Since you didn't pay the premium, you are no longer covered under the COBRA insurance continuation law with your group health insurance policy. However, if 30 days haven't passed and now you want COBRA insurance, you can still pay the premium and keep your coverage. If you need to explore additional health insurance options, you will want to learn about cobra health insurance alternatives.
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.
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.
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 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 do I know if my state offers state sponsored COBRA insurance?
Unfortunately not every state offers extended COBRA insurance plans. To learn whether or not your state offers COBRA insurance plans, please visit the COBRA Insurance by State Section and select your state.
Where can I find a list of doctors for COBRA insurance?
Since COBRA insurance is actually legislation that allows you to choose to continue receiving your previous group health insurance plan, there will not be a list of doctors that take COBRA insurance, but instead the same doctors that were covered under your previous health insurance plan will still be covered. If you need a list of those doctors, you should contact your health insurance plan administrator.
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.
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.
My COBRA insurance premium payment was lost in the mail, what can I do so I do not lose coverage?
The very first thing you should do is reach out to the group health insurance provider you are receiving insurance from with COBRA. Let them know what happened and many times, if this is the first time it has happened and there isn't a pattern of missed payments they will work with you.