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

insurance coverage.




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: 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:

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. 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





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