How Do I Apply And Enroll In COBRA Insurance?
If I leave my current employer my insurance coverage will remain until May 31st. I would sign up for COBRA coverage as of June 1st to not have any gaps in coverage. How would I go about getting COBRA insurance?
The term “COBRA insurance” refers to the same workplace health insurance you had through an employer.
To “sign up for COBRA” means you will enroll back into your former plan by the employer’s human resources department or their third-party administrator.
Missing Your Election Notice?
If the work health insurance you had was with an employer who had 20 or more workers, you should expect to see COBRA paperwork within 45 days from the insurance termination date. If your enrollment application has not arrived or you’ve lost it, you will need to contact your plan administrator to get a new one.
What Is COBRA?
COBRA is a federal law that requires businesses with 20 or more full-time employees to make available their group major medical plan to former workers and their families should that insurance stop due to a qualifying event.
Why Sign Up For COBRA?
Your former work health insurance is Affordable Care Act certified. The most important reason to get COBRA is, that it’s a major medical policy that provides coverage for pre-existing conditions that result in procedures and visits to medical providers.
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Here are the deadlines for getting started on COBRA after your work health insurance terminates:
- Your employer’s work health insurance ended due to a qualifying event
- Within 45 days of the qualifying event, the employer sends you an election notice to restart your workplace insurance
- Within 60 days of the election notice, you may choose to enroll back into your health plan where the coverage will pick up back up after making your first premium payment
- Your copays, coinsurance, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses and insurance cards for the year stay the same
- You have 45 days to make your first COBRA premium payment
- The coverage is retroactive and any medical expenses you incur before the COBRA plan starts may be submitted for reimbursement
Employer Election Notice Of COBRA Must Be Sent Within 45 Days
Applying for COBRA continuation of previous health benefits begins with the employer who sponsored the insurance to notify you. The employer has 30 days to notify the group health plan of the qualifying event. After that, the employer has 14 days to notify you of your COBRA right to keep your work health insurance. In total, the employer has within 45 days to send the COBRA election notice to continue your health plan.
You Have 60 Days To Sign Up For COBRA And Enroll
Once you receive your COBRA enrollment forms from your previous employer, you have 60 days to send back the election form. If you have questions regarding the application, you’ll want to reach out to the employer’s human resources department and ask for the COBRA Administrator.
Your COBRA coverage is retroactive to the date of your job loss (or when the former insurance would have ended). As long as you submit the enrollment papers and premium payments, there will not be a lapse or gap in your coverage. These legal rights are made possible by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, otherwise known as COBRA.
When Does Coverage Begin?
Your COBRA insurance will start immediately after making your first premium payment. Once you elect to continue the employer group health plan, your benefits will be retroactive to the date your coverage would otherwise have stopped. If you have out-of-pocket expenses between the time the coverage stopped and then started, you may be reimbursed by your carrier.