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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 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.

Can I use COBRA insurance more than once?

COBRA insurance laws apply each and every time you leave a job and meet the COBRA insurance eligibility requirements. That means that you can be eligible for COBRA insurance multiple times in your life as long as you meet the federal or state requirements.

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 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.

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.

Can my health insurance plan change while covered under COBRA insurance?

It can. Since COBRA insurance is a law that permits someone to continue to have their previous health insurance plan, any changes to that plan will also change your health insurance plan under COBRA insurance. You should be notified of any of these changes and you can drop the policy at any time or seek our COBRA insurance alternatives.

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.

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 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.

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.

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