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South Carolina COBRA Insurance

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

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

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

South Carolina Department of Insurance
Street Address: 1201 Main Street, Suite 1000, Columbia, SC 29201
Mailing Address: Post Office Box 100105, Columbia, SC 29202
Phone: 803-737-6160
Fax: 803-737-6205
Email: [email protected]
http://doi.sc.gov/Pages/default.aspx

U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Atlanta Regional Office
61 Forsyth Street, SW, Suite 7B54
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-302-3900 Fax: 404-302-3975
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get COBRA insurance when my student insurance ends?

It depends on your university's insurance plan and how many people are covered under the plan. There is a possibility that you can sign up to keep your health insurance from the university under COBRA insurance. You should contact the health insurance provider/contact on campus to find out more information and/or call the insurance company themselves.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

Can I cover my children with COBRA insurance and not myself?

When you receive the COBRA insurance election form, you will have an option to choose who you want to be covered under the COBRA insurance continuation of your group health insurance plan. This means that you can choose to cover only your children, only your spouse, only yourself, or any combination depending on your needs.

You may want to consider who needs to keep the current health insurance plan under COBRA insurance the most (i.e. someone with a preexisting condition or someone who needs consistent medical care) and cover other family members on a less expensive plan.

Can I change my COBRA insurance plan for a private medical insurance plan?

Under the COBRA insurance law, you can drop COBRA insurance at any time as long as you inform your insurance provider. This means that you can at any time convert to a private health insurance plan. Just be careful that when you drop COBRA insurance your other plan has started so you don't experience a lapse in coverage.

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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