Comprehensive COBRA Insurance Information

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Tennessee COBRA Insurance

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

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Tennessee 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 Tennessee. You are not eligible for Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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: Tennessee COBRA insurance covers you for 3 months from the day your group health insurance plan stopped coverage. This applies to former employees, spouses, and dependents.

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

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

Tennessee Insurance Division
Consumer Insurance Services
500 James Robertson Parkway, 4th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243-0574
Phone: 800-342-4029 or 615-741-2218
Fax: 615-532-7389
http://www.state.tn.us/commerce/insurance/index.shtml

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

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.

Will COBRA insurance work outside of the United States?

That all depends on the type of health insurance plan that you had with your previous employer. If the insurance company would have covered you if you moved out of the country, then they still will. However, most insurance plans only work in a select area and will not work oversees, therefore meaning COBRA insurance will not work outside of the United States. You can contact your health insurance provider to find out if you will be covered out of the country.

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.

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.

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.

I just had a baby, can I add him/her to my COBRA insurance plan?

It all depends on the health insurance policy that you chose to continue under the COBRA insurance law. Each group health insurance company has different policies so you will want to call your insurance provider. Under most policies you will be allowed to add your baby once you give birth.

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.

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.

Where do I get the COBRA insurance application/enrollment form?

The application for COBRA insurance, also know as the enrollment of election form, should be provided by your employer within 45 days of your last day of work. You can not use a generic form found online to elect COBRA medical insurance so you must reach out to your employer or health insurance company for the form. If 45 days have passed and you are sure you qualify for COBRA insurance, reach out to the Department of Labor at 866-444-3272.

Will I need new health insurance cards with COBRA insurance?

Because COBRA insurance is just the law that allows you to keep your health insurance previously provided by your employer, given you meet the requirements, you will not need to get a new health insurance card in most cases. Your health insurance will not change when you sign up for COBRA insurance and therefore you will in most circumstances not need a new health insurance card.

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