Comprehensive COBRA Insurance Information

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District of Columbia COBRA Insurance

In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of Washington D.C. also offers an extended COBRA insurance plan for employees at companies with less than 20 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 Washington D.C. This law is called Washington D.C. Mini COBRA insurance or Washington D.C. COBRA.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Washington D.C. Mini COBRA coverage, you must have been covered by the employer group health insurance plan at the time employment ended or the qualifying event occurred. You also can not qualify for federal COBRA insurance. As with federal COBRA laws, your beneficiaries are also eligible for COBRA insurance in Washington D.C.. You are not eligible for Washington D.C. Mini COBRA insurance if you are eligible for Medicare or if you qualify for another group health insurance plan.

Signing Up: To sign up for Washington D.C. Mini COBRA insurance coverage, your employer or insurance provider must notify you within 30 days that you are eligible for Washington D.C. Mini COBRA insurance. You then have 30 days to sign up. Florida Mini COBRA insurance, unlike federal COBRA insurance, is handled individually by the health insurance provider, therefore each insurer may have slightly different forms and specific sign up requirements. You can always contact the health insurance provider for support in completing these forms.

Length of Coverage: Washington D.C. Mini 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.

Cost: Washington D.C. Mini COBRA insurance costs are based on the insurance premium cost under the group insurance plan you participated in as an employee. Depending on your employer, they may have paid the entire premium or part of the premium. Under Washington D.C. Mini COBRA insurance benefits, you will be responsible for paying the 102% of the premium. Although this may seem high, it is still significantly less than you would pay for similar heath insurance coverage if you bought individual health insurance. It is also important to know that when you sign up for Washington D.C. Mini COBRA insurance, you will be responsible for any monthly premiums retroactively since the date of employment loss since the coverage covers that entire period.

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

For help signing up for Washington D.C. MIni COBRA insurance, you may consider contacting the following state agencies.

District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking
810 First Street, NE, Suite 701
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: 202.727.8000
http://disr.dc.gov/disr/site/

U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Washington District Office
1335 East-West Highway, Suite 200
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 301.713.2000
Fax: 301.713.2008
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get COBRA insurance when my student insurance ends?

It depends on your university's insurance plan and how many people are covered under the plan. There is a possibility that you can sign up to keep your health insurance from the university under COBRA insurance. You should contact the health insurance provider/contact on campus to find out more information and/or call the insurance company themselves.

Can I sign up for COBRA insurance if I quit my job?

Yes! Under COBRA insurance you can sign up for COBRA insurance if you leave your job voluntarily (i.e. quitting) or involuntarily (i.e. being laid off). You will need to complete the COBRA insurance enrollment form which should be provided by your employer.

Does COBRA insurance cover dental insurance as well?

If your previous health insurance plan with your previous employer including dental insurance then in most cases you will be able to continue to receive dental insurance with COBRA. When you receive your COBRA insurance election form, you will have to list what type of insurance you wish to continue with COBRA and who you want to be covered. If you wish to continue to have your dental insurance, make sure to mark this on the form. You will have to then pay the dental insurance premium along with the health insurance premium.

Are my children covered under COBRA insurance laws?

If your children were covered under your previous health insurance policy and you qualify for COBRA insurance so you can continue to receive your group health insurance, then your children will be covered as well in almost all cases. You can check by looking at your COBRA insurance election form or contacting your health insurance administrator.

Can my COBRA insurance premiums change?

Yes. Since COBRA insurance is just a continuation of your group health insurance plan, any changes to that plan, including an increase or decrease in premium costs, will also affect your premium cost under COBRA insurance. Your bill will reflect any changes in costs for the premium. COBRA insurance premiums cannot be locked in at any point.

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.

Should I sign up for COBRA insurance if I only need insurance for a month?

As long as your new insurance will kick in within the 60 day window you have to elect to sign up for COBRA insurance, there is no need to sign up for COBRA insurance. The reason for this is that you elect to sign to sign up for COBRA insurance on the 60th day, your health insurance will be retroactive until the last day of your employment. That means that if for any reason you got sick or needed medical attention during the 60 days, you could then just pay the premium and be covered for those expenses. If you don't end up needing medical attention in those 60 days then you didn't waste the money paying for the two months of premiums. Essentially, you would actually never be without coverage, since you can activate it at any time within the 6o days and cover the full term.

Your other option would be to sign up for a short term health insurance plan, which can be anyway from 1 day to 1 year, at a much cheaper rate than COBRA. This would cover you for any major medical costs.

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.

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 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.

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