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Minnesota COBRA Insurance

In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of Minnesota 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 Minnesota.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Minnesota COBRA insurance, 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 Minnesota. You are not eligible for Minnesota COBRA insurance if you are eligible for Medicare or if you qualify for another group health insurance plan.

Signing Up: To sign up for the Minnesota COBRA insurance coverage, you must apply in writing after employment loss. 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: Minnesota COBRA insurance covers you for 18 months from the day your group health insurance plan stopped coverage. This applies to former employees, spouses, and dependents.

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

For help signing up for Minnesota COBRA insurance, you may consider contacting the following state agencies.

Minnesota Department of Commerce
85 7th Place East, Suite 500
St. Paul, MN 55101
Phone: 651.296.4026
http://www.state.mn.us/portal/mn/jsp/home.do?agency=Commerce

U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Kansas City Regional Office
1100 Main Street, Suite 1200
Kansas City, MO 64105-5148
Tel 816.426.5131
Fax 816.426.5511
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

How much does COBRA insurance cost?

If you elect to sign up for COBRA health insurance coverage, you will be responsible for 100% of the premium for your insurance (including your contribution and any contribution your former employer made) plus a 2% administration fee. You can locate this information on a recent pay stub, by contacting your employer, or by looking on the COBRA insurance notification form that lists the premium due.

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.

Can my COBRA insurance premiums change?

Yes. Since COBRA insurance is just a continuation of your group health insurance plan, any changes to that plan, including an increase or decrease in premium costs, will also affect your premium cost under COBRA insurance. Your bill will reflect any changes in costs for the premium. COBRA insurance premiums cannot be locked in at any point.

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.

How do I know if my state offers state sponsored COBRA insurance?

Unfortunately not every state offers extended COBRA insurance plans. To learn whether or not your state offers COBRA insurance plans, please visit the COBRA Insurance by State Section and select your state.

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 be denied COBRA insurance if I have a preexisting condition?

No. As long as your were receiving health insurance in your previous job and meet all of the federal COBRA insurance requirements than you can no be denied COBRA insurance because of a preexisting condition.

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.

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.

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