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 I cancel my COBRA insurance?

Of course! COBRA insurance is meant to be an interim way to keep health insurance after you lose or quit your job. Once you have found a new job with health insurance or decide to sign up for an alternative health insurance plan, you can cancel your COBRA insurance policy at any time by contacting your COBRA insurance administrator.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Can I get COBRA insurance if I am not a U.S. citizen?

If your worked for a U.S. company that provides health insurance and you meet the federal requirement for COBRA insurance eligibility than you can be covered whether you are a U.S. citizen or not. Make sure to get the COBRA insurance election form from your employer and submit it on time and you should be covered along with your dependents and/or spouse.

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.

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 the same health insurance plan with COBRA insurance?

That is exactly what COBRA insurance is for. COBRA insurance actually refers to the law that was passed in 1985 and not to a specific type of insurance. The law allows you to keep your current health insurance plan as long as you meet federal requirements which means that yes, you can and will keep the exact same health insurance plan.

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