Comprehensive COBRA Insurance Information

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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

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.

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.

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.

How many days do I have to elect COBRA insurance?

Under the current law, you have 60 days to decide if you want to elect COBRA insurance. During that time it is important that you explore all of your options to make sure that is the right plan for you. The exact date that you need to make an enrollment decision will be listed on your COBRA insurance election form.

I signed up for COBRA insurance but never paid the premium because it is too expensive, am I still covered?

Since you didn't pay the premium, you are no longer covered under the COBRA insurance continuation law with your group health insurance policy. However, if 30 days haven't passed and now you want COBRA insurance, you can still pay the premium and keep your coverage. If you need to explore additional health insurance options, you will want to learn about cobra health insurance alternatives.

Where can I find a list of doctors for COBRA insurance?

Since COBRA insurance is actually legislation that allows you to choose to continue receiving your previous group health insurance plan, there will not be a list of doctors that take COBRA insurance, but instead the same doctors that were covered under your previous health insurance plan will still be covered. If you need a list of those doctors, you should contact your health insurance plan administrator.

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 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 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.

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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