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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

What is state sponsored COBRA insurance?

State sponsored COBRA generally looks identical to the federal COBRA insurance coverage but applies to more people than the federal law. It allows someone to extend their group health insurance coverage after losing their job for a specified period of time. This time period varies from state to state. Also, the cost varies from state to state.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Can I keep the same health insurance plan with COBRA insurance?

That is exactly what COBRA insurance is for. COBRA insurance actually refers to the law that was passed in 1985 and not to a specific type of insurance. The law allows you to keep your current health insurance plan as long as you meet federal requirements which means that yes, you can and will keep the exact same health insurance plan.

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.

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.

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