Comprehensive COBRA Insurance Information

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Rhode Island COBRA Insurance

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

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island. You are not eligible for Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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: Rhode Island 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: Rhode Island COBRA insurance can be terminated for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons for termination of Rhode Island COBRA insurance coverage is failure to pay premiums, termination of the group health insurance plan by the employer.

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

Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner
1511 Pontiac Ave, Building #69 first floor
Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: 401-462-9517
Fax: 401-462-9645
Email: [email protected]
http://www.ohic.ri.gov/

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

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.

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.

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.

Where do I send my monthly COBRA insurance premiums?

Since COBRA insurance is the law that allows you to maintain your health insurance not the actual insurance, you will send the monthly premiums to your group health insurance company. This is the same one that you had when you were employed. Normally the address is located on your COBRA election form and if you can no find that, you can call your former employer or the health insurance provider.

Can I sign up for COBRA insurance after the 60 day window?

Unfortunately you can not sign up for COBRA insurance after the 60 day enrollment window has ended. If that window has passed you will need to look for alternative insurance through a private company so that you can have health insurance.

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.

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.

Is there a grace period before they cancel COBRA insurance if I can't pay?

With most health insurance plans, there is a 30 day grace period, within which you need to pay your COBRA health insurance premium. If you fail to pay the premium within this window it is likely that your COBRA insurance will be cancelled and you will not be able to sign back up.

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 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.

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