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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

Can I be denied COBRA insurance if I have a preexisting condition?

No. As long as your were receiving health insurance in your previous job and meet all of the federal COBRA insurance requirements than you can no be denied COBRA insurance because of a preexisting condition.

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.

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.

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.

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 sign up for COBRA insurance after the 60 day window?

Unfortunately you can not sign up for COBRA insurance after the 60 day enrollment window has ended. If that window has passed you will need to look for alternative insurance through a private company so that you can have health insurance.

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.

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.

Can my employer deny COBRA insurance benefits?

If you qualify for COBRA insurance under the federal eligibility requirements and have not left your job due to gross misconduct, then your employer can not deny you COBRA insurance benefits. If you think you are unfairly being denied COBRA insurance benefits by your employer you should reach out to the Department of Labor.

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.

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