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Maine COBRA Insurance

In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of Maine also offers an extended COBRA insurance plan for employees at companies with 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 Maine. This law is called Maine Mini COBRA insurance.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Maine Mini COBRA coverage, you must have been covered by the employer group health insurance plan for at prior to 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 Maine. You are not eligible for Maine Mini COBRA insurance if you are eligible for Medicare or if you qualify for another group health insurance plan.

Length of Coverage: Maine Mini COBRA insurance covers you for 12 months from the day your group health insurance plan stopped coverage. This applies to former employees, spouses, and dependents.

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

For help electing for Maine MIni COBRA insurance, you may consider contacting the following state agencies.

Maine Department of Professional & Financial Regulation
Bureau of Insurance
#34 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0034
Phone: 800.300.5000 (toll free in Maine) or 207.624.8475
http://www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance/index.shtml

U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Boston Regional Office
J.F.K. Building, Room 575
Boston, MA 02203
Phone: 617.565.9600
Fax: 617.565.9666
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I add a dependent to my COBRA insurance?

Since COBRA insurance is just a law that enables you to continue to have access to your previous group health insurance, you would take the same steps to add a dependent. First contact your health insurance provider (not COBRA which is just the law that allows this) and find out their policy for adding a dependent.

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.

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.

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.

My COBRA insurance premium payment was lost in the mail, what can I do so I do not lose coverage?

The very first thing you should do is reach out to the group health insurance provider you are receiving insurance from with COBRA. Let them know what happened and many times, if this is the first time it has happened and there isn't a pattern of missed payments they will work with you.

Where do I get the COBRA insurance application/enrollment form?

The application for COBRA insurance, also know as the enrollment of election form, should be provided by your employer within 45 days of your last day of work. You can not use a generic form found online to elect COBRA medical insurance so you must reach out to your employer or health insurance company for the form. If 45 days have passed and you are sure you qualify for COBRA insurance, reach out to the Department of Labor at 866-444-3272.

I just qualified for Medicare, can my family still receive COBRA insurance?

Yes - if you were the one who was providing the COBRA insurance policy (i.e. COBRA kicked in because you no longer were covered due to job loss/quitting and elected to continue to keep your group health insurance with COBRA). Under the COBRA insurance laws, this is known as a secondary qualifying event which will allow your family to be covered for an additional 7 months.

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 I keep COBRA insurance even if my new job offers health insurance?

Sometimes people may find a new job but still would like to stay on their previous plan with their former employer under COBRA because they prefer that plan. This is completely possible under COBRA insurance laws as long as you do not sign up for the new insurance. However, when your COBRA insurance benefits run out, you will likely want to sign up for your new employers health insurance plan or find a private plan.

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.

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