Comprehensive COBRA Insurance Information

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Ohio COBRA Insurance

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

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Ohio COBRA insurance, you must have been covered by the employer group health insurance plan employment loss for at least 3 months, have a qualifying event that entitles you to COBRA insurance, be eligible for unemployment insurance, and have been terminated involuntarily. You also can not qualify for federal COBRA insurance. As with federal COBRA laws, your beneficiaries are also eligible for COBRA insurance in Ohio. You are not eligible for Ohio 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 Ohio 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: Ohio COBRA insurance covers you for 6 months from the day your group health insurance plan stopped coverage. This applies to former employees, spouses, and dependents.

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

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

Ohio Department of Insurance
50 W. Town Street, Suite 300, Third Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 644-2658
Consumer Hotline: (800) 686-1526
http://www.ohioinsurance.gov/

U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Cincinnati Regional Office
1885 Dixie Highway, Suite 210
Ft. Wright, KY 41011-2664
Phone: (859) 578-4680
Fax: (859) 578-4688
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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