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Pennsylvania COBRA Insurance

In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of Pennsylvania also offers an extended COBRA insurance plan for employees at companies with less than 20 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 Pennsylvania. This law is called Pennsylvania Mini COBRA insurance or Pennsylvania COBRA.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Pennsylvania Mini COBRA coverage, you must have been covered by the employer group health insurance plan at the time employment ended or the qualifying event occurred. You also can not qualify for federal COBRA insurance. As with federal COBRA laws, your beneficiaries are also eligible for COBRA insurance in Pennsylvania. You are not eligible for Pennsylvania Mini COBRA insurance if you are eligible for Medicare or if you qualify for another group health insurance plan.

Signing Up: To sign up for Pennsylvania Mini COBRA insurance coverage, your employer or insurance provider must notify you within 30 days that you are eligible for Pennsylvania Mini COBRA insurance. You then have 30 days to sign up. Florida Mini COBRA insurance, unlike federal COBRA insurance, is handled individually by the health insurance provider, therefore each insurer may have slightly different forms and specific sign up requirements. You can always contact the health insurance provider for support in completing these forms.

Length of Coverage: Pennsylvania Mini COBRA insurance covers you for 9 months from the day your group health insurance plan stopped coverage. This applies to former employees, spouses, and dependents.

Cost: Pennsylvania Mini COBRA insurance costs are based on the insurance premium cost under the group insurance plan you participated in as an employee. Depending on your employer, they may have paid the entire premium or part of the premium. Under Pennsylvania Mini COBRA insurance benefits, you will be responsible for paying the 105% of the premium. Although this may seem high, it is still significantly less than you would pay for similar heath insurance coverage if you bought individual health insurance. It is also important to know that when you sign up for Pennsylvania Mini COBRA insurance, you will be responsible for any monthly premiums retroactively since the date of employment loss since the coverage covers that entire period.

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

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

Pennsylvania Department of Insurance
Office of Consumer and Producer Services
1209 Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-6174
Fax: 717-787-8585
http://www.ins.state.pa.us/

U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Philadelphia Regional Office
170 S Independence Mall West, Suite 870 West
Philadelphia, PA 19106-3317
Phone: 215-861-5300
Fax: 215-861-5347
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use COBRA insurance more than once?

COBRA insurance laws apply each and every time you leave a job and meet the COBRA insurance eligibility requirements. That means that you can be eligible for COBRA insurance multiple times in your life as long as you meet the federal or state requirements.

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.

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.

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.

Can my employer deny COBRA insurance benefits?

If you qualify for COBRA insurance under the federal eligibility requirements and have not left your job due to gross misconduct, then your employer can not deny you COBRA insurance benefits. If you think you are unfairly being denied COBRA insurance benefits by your employer you should reach out to the Department of Labor.

Can I keep the same health insurance plan with COBRA insurance?

That is exactly what COBRA insurance is for. COBRA insurance actually refers to the law that was passed in 1985 and not to a specific type of insurance. The law allows you to keep your current health insurance plan as long as you meet federal requirements which means that yes, you can and will keep the exact same health insurance plan.

Are there good COBRA insurance alternatives if I have a preexisting condition?

Likely, COBRA insurance will be your best option if you have a preexisting condition. However it is always worth it to explore alternative options and explain your condition to find out if there is a cheaper option even though you have a preexisting condition. Either way, it is incredibly important to keep some type of medical insurance.

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.

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.

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.

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