Comprehensive COBRA Insurance Information

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Iowa COBRA Insurance

In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of Iowa 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 Iowa. This law is called Iowa Continuation Coverage.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Iowa Continuation Coverage insurance, you must have been covered by the employer group health insurance plan employment loss for at least 3 months and have a qualifying event that entitles you to COBRA insurance. You also can not qualify for federal COBRA insurance. As with federal COBRA laws, your beneficiaries are also eligible for COBRA insurance in Iowa. You are not eligible for Iowa Continuation Coverage insurance if you are eligible for Medicare or if you qualify for another group health insurance plan.

Signing Up: To sign up for the Iowa Continuation insurance coverage, you must apply in writing after employment loss within 10 days. You also must pay the COBRA premium in advance. Your employer and the group health insurer should provide you with an election notice for COBRA insurance when your employment ends, however you should immediately reach out to your insurer if you do not receive notification.

Length of Coverage: Iowa Continuation insurance covers you for 9 months from the day your group health insurance plan stopped coverage. This applies to former employees, spouses, and dependents.

Termination: Iowa Continuation insurance can be terminated for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons for termination of Iowa Continuation insurance coverage is failure to pay premiums, termination of the group health insurance plan by the employer.

For help signing up for Iowa Continuation insurance, you may consider contacting the following state agencies.

Iowa Insurance Division
330 Maple St.
Des Moines, IA 50319-0065
Phone: 877.955.1212 or 515.281.5705
Fax: 515.281.3059
http://www.iid.state.ia.us/

U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Kansas City Regional Office
1100 Main Street, Suite 1200
Kansas City, MO 64105-5148
Phone: 816.426.5131
Fax: 816.426.5511
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

Are my COBRA insurance premium payments tax deductible?

It all depends on your health insurance plan and your current income and taxes. Unfortunately there is no simple answer here. The easiest way to find out if your health insurance premiums under COBRA is to contact your health insurance administrator or reach out to the IRS or a specialized tax agent.

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.

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.

How much does COBRA insurance cost?

If you elect to sign up for COBRA health insurance coverage, you will be responsible for 100% of the premium for your insurance (including your contribution and any contribution your former employer made) plus a 2% administration fee. You can locate this information on a recent pay stub, by contacting your employer, or by looking on the COBRA insurance notification form that lists the premium due.

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.

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 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.

Can I change my COBRA insurance plan for a private medical insurance plan?

Under the COBRA insurance law, you can drop COBRA insurance at any time as long as you inform your insurance provider. This means that you can at any time convert to a private health insurance plan. Just be careful that when you drop COBRA insurance your other plan has started so you don't experience a lapse in coverage.

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