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Key Questions to Ask Your Employer About COBRA Insurance When You Quit

Posted on: April 4th, 2011 by Cobra Insurance Guide

Key Questions to Ask Your Employer About COBRA Insurance When You QuitMany people don’t realize that you are eligible for COBRA Insurance benefits and to maintain your health insurance under the COBRA insurance law whether you are laid off from your job or if you quit.  The law covers any voluntarily or involuntarily loss of employment as long as there is no evidence of gross misconduct.  So if you quit, what should you be asking your employer when you turn in your resignation and during your final days on the job.  There are some important questions to ask to ensure you have the option to continue your health insurance coverage under COBRA

1.  What is the full cost of my current medical insurance premium?

For many people one of the most important things they need to know  to determine if they will in fact enroll in COBRA  insurance to maintain their health insurance is the cost.  And surprisingly most people could not actually tell you how much they or their company pays for their health insurance plan.  It is important to ask your company what the exact cost of health insurance is, meaning the full premium cost.  Once you know that amount, you can calculate what your monthly cost would be with COBRA insurance.  It will be that amount plus a 2% administration fee under the federal law.

2.  Are you eligible for federal or state run COBRA insurance?

Since you must meet certain eligibility requirements to qualify for COBRA insurance continuation at the federal level, and state level if your state also offers COBRA insurance, you want to ask your employer if you qualify.  They are required by state to know this information and provide it to you.  Generally, at the federal level companies who insure 20 people or more (or their part time equivalent) will be eligible for COBRA continuation insurance and at the state level many times it is companies who insure between 2-19 employees or their part time equivalents.

3.  Does your company offer any COBRA insurance alternatives or health insurance continuation options?

Some health insurance plans and some companies offer their own equivalent to COBRA insurance which many times is significantly cheaper than COBRA.  The terms themselves may differ as many the length of coverage, but your company or health insurance company, may offer their own continuation plan.  This is especially true if you are laid off and there is a contractual obligation for the company to pay their percentage of the premium through the length of your contract.  With that said, some companies offer it on their own as a part of severance packages or as good will.

4.  Is the company planning on changing the health insurance policy or dropping health insurance in the near future?

Under the current COBRA insurance law, you will still be eligible for COBRA insurance if your company changes it’s health insurance plan or policy, but you will be responsible for any additional costs under that change.  That means, if the company decided to go with a more expensive provider, you will be responsible under COBRA to pay the increased rate.  It also means if the plan changes, it will also change for you.  This can be important to consider if you are calculating costs or considering alternate plans.  If your company is planning on dropping health insurance altogether in the near future, that unfortunately means that you will also lose your COBRA insurance continuation.  If the company envisions that will happen soon, you may be better off finding a new medical insurance provider from the start.


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