Texas COBRA Insurance
In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of Texas 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 Texas.
Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Texas 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 Texas. You are not eligible for Texas 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 Texas 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: Texas 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: Texas COBRA insurance can be terminated for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons for termination of Texas COBRA insurance coverage is failure to pay premiums, termination of the group health insurance plan by the employer.
For help signing up for Texas COBRA insurance, you may consider contacting the following state agencies.
Texas Department of Insurance
P.O. Box 149104
Austin, TX 78714-9104
Phone: 800 252-3439
U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Dallas Regional Office
525 South Griffin Street, Room 900
Dallas, TX 75202-5025
Frequently Asked Questions
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
What other options do I have if I don't qualify or want state sponsored COBRA insurance?
There are many other options for health insurance, many of which are less expensive than typical COBRA plans: Alternatives to COBRA.
How much do I have to pay to sign up for COBRA insurance?
This is completely dependent on the day that you decide to elect to enroll in COBRA insurance. If you decide to enroll in COBRA insurance right away, you will just be responsible f or the first premium. However, if you wanted until the last day to enroll, you would have to pay 2 months of premiums. This is because COBRA insurance is retroactive back to the date your insurance coverage would have stopped and you need to pay to cover that full period. You can find out exactly what you need to pay by contacting your group health insurance plan.
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.