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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 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.

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.

Is there a cap to the amount COBRA insurance premiums cost?

Unfortunately under the current COBRA insurance laws, there is no cap to the cost of COBRA insurance premiums. The premium is calculated based on the current cost of the group health insurance premium at your company plus the 2% administration fee.

Can I apply for COBRA insurance if I quit my job?

One of the great things about the COBRA law is that you are entitled to continue your coverage whether you lost your job voluntarily or involuntarily. This means that even if you quit your job, you and your family can still receive COBRA insurance benefits.

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.

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.

Am I eligible for COBRA insurance if my company has under 20 employees?

Unfortunately you are not eligible for COBRA insurance under the federal law if your company has less than 20 employees. However, many states have created extended COBRA insurance benefit laws that apply to people who work for companies with between 2-19 employees. Learn more about COBRA continuation state policies.

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.

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.

Does COBRA insurance work in every state or only certain ones?

COBRA Insurance is a federal law, passed in 1985, which means that is works in every single state. Each and every state is required to offer continuation of health insurance with COBRA insurance as long as the employee meets the eligibility written in the law. If you do not meet the federal COBRA eligibility requirements, some states offer additional COBRA insurance plans for people at smaller companies normally known as mini-COBRA or COBRA continuation plans.

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