Comprehensive COBRA Insurance Information

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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

Is there a COBRA application form I can download?

No. COBRA enrollment forms have to be provided by the employer and group health insurance provider. The election forms, although they contain similar information, contain specific individual information about your plan, the premium, and who is covered so they have to be provided by the employer or group health insurance plan. You should receive this from your employer, as it is their legal obligation to provide the COBRA insurance application, but if your are concerned you should reach out to your employer and request the application.

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.

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 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.

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 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.

How do I apply for state sponsored COBRA insurance?

Every state has a specific application process to receive state sponsored COBRA insurance. Generally, you will need to request an election form from your employer and will have between 14-60 days to submit your form and pay the initial premium. On this form, you will have to prove that you are eligible and provide personal information for everyone you wish to remain on the plan under COBRA.

Can I drop my COBRA insurance coverage at any time?

Of course! COBRA insurance laws are meant to protect people and families while they seek out other health insurance either through an independent company or by becoming employed elsewhere. Therefore, you can drop your COBRA health insurance coverage at any time. You need to notify your group health insurance provider under COBRA when you would like the coverage to end. Make sure to check with your new employer or insurer for when the policy will become active. In many companies, there is a 90 day waiting period until COBRA insurance kicks in.

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.

Can I sign up for COBRA Insurance if I retire?

Yes - under the COBRA insurance law, retiring from your job is considered a qualifying event which means you can elect to continue to keep your group health insurance plan with COBRA insurance. Make sure to get the COBRA enrollment form from your employer, complete it on time, and submit it on time with the premium that is due.

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