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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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Can I continue COBRA insurance just for my spouse?

Yes. When you receive your COBRA insurance enrollment form, you will be able to choose you would like to sign up for COBRA insurance coverage. This means that you can pick and choose who will continue to be covered under the health insurance policy with COBRA. You can choose to just cover your spouse and find alternative insurance for yourself.

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.

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 do I know if my state offers state sponsored COBRA insurance?

Unfortunately not every state offers extended COBRA insurance plans. To learn whether or not your state offers COBRA insurance plans, please visit the COBRA Insurance by State Section and select your state.

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.

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.

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