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Illinois COBRA Insurance

In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of Illinois 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 Illinois. This law is called Illinois Health Insurance Continuation Rights Law.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Illinois Health Insurance Continuation insurance coverage, you must have been covered by the employer group health insurance plan employment loss 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 Illinois. You are not eligible for Illinois Health Insurance Continuation insurance if you are eligible for Medicare or if you qualify for another group health insurance plan.

Signing Up: To sign up for the Illinois Health Insurance Continuation insurance coverage, you must apply in writing 10 days before your coverage is scheduled to end. 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: Illinois Health Insurance Continuation insurance covers you for 9 months from the day your group health insurance plan stopped coverage. Your dependents can be covered for a time period of up to 2 years. This applies to former employees, spouses, and dependents.

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

For help electing for Illinois Health Insurance Continuation insurance, you may consider contacting the following state agencies.

Illinois Division of Insurance - Office of Consumer Health Insurance
320 West Washington Street
Springfield, Illinois 62767
Phone: 877-527-9431

U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Chicago Regional Office (Northern IL)
200 West Adams Street, Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 312-353-0900
Fax: 312-353-1023

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

Are there good COBRA insurance alternatives if I have a preexisting condition?

Likely, COBRA insurance will be your best option if you have a preexisting condition. However it is always worth it to explore alternative options and explain your condition to find out if there is a cheaper option even though you have a preexisting condition. Either way, it is incredibly important to keep some type of medical insurance.

What other options do I have if I don't qualify or want state sponsored COBRA insurance?

There are many other options for health insurance, many of which are less expensive than typical COBRA plans: Alternatives to COBRA.

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.

Am I eligible for COBRA insurance if my company has under 20 employees?

Unfortunately you are not eligible for COBRA insurance under the federal law if your company has less than 20 employees. However, many states have created extended COBRA insurance benefit laws that apply to people who work for companies with between 2-19 employees. Learn more about COBRA continuation state policies.

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.

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 there a cap to the amount COBRA insurance premiums cost?

Unfortunately under the current COBRA insurance laws, there is no cap to the cost of COBRA insurance premiums. The premium is calculated based on the current cost of the group health insurance premium at your company plus the 2% administration fee.

Can I sign up for COBRA insurance if I quit my job?

Yes! Under COBRA insurance you can sign up for COBRA insurance if you leave your job voluntarily (i.e. quitting) or involuntarily (i.e. being laid off). You will need to complete the COBRA insurance enrollment form which should be provided by your employer.

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