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
Email: [email protected]
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
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.
How much does COBRA insurance cost?
If you elect to sign up for COBRA health insurance coverage, you will be responsible for 100% of the premium for your insurance (including your contribution and any contribution your former employer made) plus a 2% administration fee. You can locate this information on a recent pay stub, by contacting your employer, or by looking on the COBRA insurance notification form that lists the premium due.
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.
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.
Are there good COBRA insurance alternatives if I have a preexisting condition?
Likely, COBRA insurance will be your best option if you have a preexisting condition. However it is always worth it to explore alternative options and explain your condition to find out if there is a cheaper option even though you have a preexisting condition. Either way, it is incredibly important to keep some type of medical insurance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.