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Florida COBRA Insurance

In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of Florida 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 Florida. This law in Florida is called Florida Mini COBRA insurance.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Florida Mini Cobra insurance coverage, you must have been covered by the employer group health insurance plan when you lost your employment and must not qualify for federal COBRA insurance. As with federal COBRA laws, your beneficiaries are also eligible for COBRA insurance in Florida. You are not eligible for Florida 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 Florida Mini COBRA insurance coverage, you must send written notification to your insurance company or HMO within 30 days of employment loss. 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: Florida Mini COBRA insurance lasts between 18 months, although you may qualify for an additional 11 months if you are completely disables.

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

Cost: Florida 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 Florida Mini COBRA insurance benefits, you will be responsible for paying the 115% 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. If you qualify for the 11 month extension due to disability, your cost will raise to 150% of the premium during those 11 months.

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

Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
200 East Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Phone: 850.413.3140
http://www.floir.com/director/

U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Miami District Office (South Florida)
8040 Peters Road, Bldg H, Suite 104
Plantation, FL 33324
Phone: 954.424.4022
Fax: 954.424.0548
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I send my monthly COBRA insurance premiums?

Since COBRA insurance is the law that allows you to maintain your health insurance not the actual insurance, you will send the monthly premiums to your group health insurance company. This is the same one that you had when you were employed. Normally the address is located on your COBRA election form and if you can no find that, you can call your former employer or the health insurance provider.

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.

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 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.

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.

Am I eligible for COBRA insurance if my company cancels their health insurance policy?

Unfortunately in most cases you will not be eligible for health insurance under COBRA insurance laws if your company stops providing health insurance. The reason is that COBRA insurance laws allow you to continue to receive your health insurance but if there is no health insurance to continue, then you are not able to keep insurance under COBRA. This means you will likely need to start exploring alternative health insurance options.

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.

How many days do I have to elect COBRA insurance?

Under the current law, you have 60 days to decide if you want to elect COBRA insurance. During that time it is important that you explore all of your options to make sure that is the right plan for you. The exact date that you need to make an enrollment decision will be listed on your COBRA insurance election form.

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.

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