Comprehensive COBRA Insurance Information

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Virginia COBRA Insurance

In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of Virginia 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 Virginia. This law is called Virginia Continuation Coverage.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Virginia Continuation Coverage 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 Virginia. You are not eligible for Virginia Continuation Coverage insurance if you are eligible for Medicare or if you qualify for another group health insurance plan.

Signing Up: To sign up for the Virginia Continuation 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: Virginia Continuation insurance covers you for 90 days from the day your group health insurance plan stopped coverage. This applies to former employees, spouses, and dependents.

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

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

Virginia Bureau of Insurance
P.O. Box 1157
Richmond, Virginia , 23218
Phone: 800-552-7945 (Virginia only) or 804-371-9741
Email: bureauofins[email protected]
http://www.scc.virginia.gov/division/boi/

U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Washington District Office
1335 East-West Highway, Suite 200
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Tel 202.693.8700
Fax 202.693.8736
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my health insurance plan change while covered under COBRA insurance?

It can. Since COBRA insurance is a law that permits someone to continue to have their previous health insurance plan, any changes to that plan will also change your health insurance plan under COBRA insurance. You should be notified of any of these changes and you can drop the policy at any time or seek our COBRA insurance alternatives.

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.

How do I add a dependent to my COBRA insurance?

Since COBRA insurance is just a law that enables you to continue to have access to your previous group health insurance, you would take the same steps to add a dependent. First contact your health insurance provider (not COBRA which is just the law that allows this) and find out their policy for adding a dependent.

Does COBRA insurance qualify as creditable coverage?

Yes - electing to continue your health insurance coverage with COBRA insurance, will qualify as creditable coverage (under the HIPAA) law. Creditable coverage helps ensure that you are not excluded from a health insurance policy in the future due to a preexisting condition.

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.

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.

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 I keep my HSA or flexible spending account with COBRA insurance?

COBRA insurance laws provide that you can continue to maintain your current health insurance plan if you leave or quit our job and meet the COBRA insurance requirements. This means that you can keep all benefits of the previous plan, including HSA and flexible spending accounts under COBRA insurance laws. If you have specific questions about what this looks like you should contact your group health insurance provider.

I signed up for COBRA insurance but never paid the premium because it is too expensive, am I still covered?

Since you didn't pay the premium, you are no longer covered under the COBRA insurance continuation law with your group health insurance policy. However, if 30 days haven't passed and now you want COBRA insurance, you can still pay the premium and keep your coverage. If you need to explore additional health insurance options, you will want to learn about cobra health insurance alternatives.

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.

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