Idaho Insurance News
2009 COBRA Changes
For employers with at least 20 employees, the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) changed
some provisions for COBRA continuation of group health
COBRA premium assistance is now available for employees (and their
dependents) when involuntarily terminated from employment between
September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009. Income limits for eligible
individuals are set by ARRA. On and after February 17, 2009, premium
assistance is available for up to nine months of the maximum COBRA
continuation period. The COBRA eligible individual pays 35% of the
COBRA premium and the employer pays 65%. The employer will be
reimbursed for the 65% share of the COBRA premium through a payroll tax
credit. COBRA continuation is available only if the former employer
maintains a group health plan during the continuation period. An individual is
not eligible for COBRA premium assistance if eligible for other group health
coverage or Medicare.
The act applies to eligible individuals terminated back to September 1, 2008,
but the premium assistance does not begin until on and after February 17,
2009. If an eligible individual had not previously elected COBRA, ARRA
allows for a special extended election period beginning on February 17,
2009, and ending 60 days after the date on which election notification is
given to the individual. ARRA also creates a “plan enrollment option” where
an eligible individual may elect to enroll in different coverage as may be
offered by the employer to active employees. New COBRA election notices
must include information on premium assistance and the option to enroll in
different coverage (if available).
ARRA also applies to a state program that provides continued coverage
similar to COBRA (“Mini-COBRA”) for employers with fewer than 20
employees; however, the Idaho Insurance Code does not provide for
COBRA-like continuation of health coverage for employer plans.
The U.S. Department of Labor has more on COBRA, including information
in Spanish, at its website: www.dol.gov//COBRA. The toll-free number for
the US DOL is 1-866-444-3272. The Internal Revenue Service has COBRA
information on tax forms for employers at its website: www.irs.gov.
Idaho COBRA Insurance
Under Idaho health insurance rules, the federal COBRA regulations apply to only those companies with more than 20 employees. An eligible employee may decide to keep their Idaho health insurance coverage through COBRA for up to 18 months, or until they get other coverage, whichever comes first. There are exceptions to the 18 month limit. For instance, some dependents can remain covered for up to 36 months, and disabled persons can be covered for 29 months. COBRA is a way to extend the Idaho health insurance you had from an employer. However, if the group insurance plans ends or your employer decides to stop providing health insurance for employees, your COBRA coverage will also end. For people whose COBRA coverage has ended, there is further Idaho health insurance coverage available through the Idaho Comprehensive Health Insurance Association (ACHIA).
Under the COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) federal law Idaho residents can continue, subject to duration limits, health coverage from a prior employer. If you would like to learn more about how COBRA could impact you, visit:
Idaho COBRA Health Insurance
The COBRA act gives any worker the right to continue group health insurance coverage in the event they leave the company due to career change or layoffs. COBRA protects workers from the prospect of being uninsured by allowing for this extension that gives a departing employee the opportunity to find a suitable replacement to the group health insurance plan. COBRA specifies that in the case of a group health insurance extension, the exiting employee can be responsible for the entirety of the health insurance premium, depending on the employers policies.
Unfortunately, the provision that the exiting employee is responsible for the entirety of the health insurance premium means that any person extending their group health insurance plan under COBRA is likely paying a substantial sum of money for his or her health insurance plan. The fact is, absent employer contribution to the health insurance premium, COBRA insurance is just too expensive for Idahoans. MyInsuranceExpert.com can help you in your search for a high quality health insurance plans by providing you with tools and resources that make comparing and contrasting various health insurance plans a breeze. So if you are looking for a health insurance plan to take the place of your COBRA extended group health insurance plan, you’ve come to the right place at MyInsuranceExpert.com.