How Do I Get COBRA Insurance?
Getting COBRA insurance isn't as difficult as many people may think. In fact the most difficult part of getting COBRA is determining whether or not you qualify and then deciding if you can afford COBRA insurance and if it is the best plan for you. Once you decide what you want to do, the act of signing up for COBRA is pretty simple.
However it is always extremely important to consider private health insurance plans before signing up for COBRA. Many people find they can save significantly each month by using a private medical plan, and it is worth your time to examine all your options before signing up.
Do I Qualify for Federal COBRA Insurance?
The first thing to determine is whether or not you qualify for federal COBRA insurance. Federal COBRA has three main requirements that the employee must meet in order to them and/or their family members to qualify for COBRA. First, the health insurance plan must insure at least 20 employees or their part time equivalents.
Second, the employee or family member must have a qualifying event. For employees this normally means quitting, being laid off, or retiring from your job. For family members this could be a divorce, legal separation, the employee qualifying for Medicare, death of the employee, or loss of dependent status.
Finally, the last requirement is qualifying beneficiary. This refers to who is eligible for continuation of coverage with COBRA. In almost all cases anyone who was previously covered will still be covered. Learn more about COBRA insurance requirements.
Do I Qualify for State COBRA Insurance?
If you do not qualify for federal COBRA, you may qualify for state COBRA insurance plans. Most of these plans are identical to the federal coverage but extend to people who work at companies with between 2-19 employees. In some cases that can also extend COBRA beyond the typical 18 month plan. Not all states have their own COBRA plans, but many do. Find out about state COBRA insurance.
What Other Health Insurance Options Do I Have?
There are actually many other health insurance options out there for individuals and families whether or not they are healthy or have preexisting conditions. For people with preexisting conditions, it is always smart to get a quote for preexisting condition insurance. This may be cheaper than COBRA for some. For people who are generally healthy, you can normally save thousands of dollars by going with an alternative plan. Get free, no obligation quotes to explore your options.
Signing Up For COBRA Insurance
If you do decide to sign up for COBRA insurance, just complete the COBRA election form provided from your employer within 60 days of the date of the letter. Send it in with the premium payment and your COBRA will be active.