The first step in securing a new COBRA health insurance policy is understanding what it is all about. It is short for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. A COBRA plan enables an individual to keep their former employer health insurance once they have lost a job or other triggering event like a decrease in hours worked. For individuals who are older and do not currently work, COBRA plans also make sense.
The old rule of thumb was that you could not be insured again for another eighteen months. You had to wait until an open enrollment time for new health insurance coverage to take place. In order to maintain continuous health insurance coverage after losing your old job, it would be necessary to pay COBRA premiums throughout your life. It’s really quite simple. If you didn’t want to be covered by an old plan and you qualified for COBRA health insurance coverage, you simply waited it out.
The idea behind COBRA is to give an individual a second chance at health insurance. If your circumstances change dramatically since you first enrolled, you can decide to renew your policy. If, on the other hand, something unexpected occurs, you are able to choose whether or not you want to enroll in COBRA. Your health care advisor will help you determine if you need COBRA coverage and how long you should wait before getting it again. There are specific guidelines that must be followed in order to enroll in COBRA.
If you were laid off from your job, COBRA health coverage is not right for you. The last thing you need is to have to pay COBRA premiums for eighteen months and wonder if you qualified. It is important to understand, though, that once you do become eligible for COBRA insurance, you cannot be turned down for this coverage ever again. You must always maintain COBRA until the plan is complete and you are enrolled.
There are specific guidelines that govern when an individual can be eligible for COBRA insurance. Some of these guidelines depend on the length of time that an individual has worked with his or her current employer, while others are based on the length of time that the employee has worked with his or her present employer. In addition, there are other factors such as the number of employees, the age of those employees, their ages and the types of employers that they are employed with that determine when an employee must begin COBRA enrollment.
The most common scenario that will trigger an individual to begin COBRA insurance is when he or she loses his or her job through whatever reason. There are, of course, other situations that will result in an individual needing COBRA continuation coverage. If you were injured in an accident at work, you may have a longer period of time to turn to COBRA insurance. Additionally, if you were employed through a business that went out of business, it could take you longer to find a new employer who is willing to offer you continued coverage as part of a new employment agreement. If you are employed through a government agency, such as the Veterans Affairs Department, you may have even longer to turn to COBRA insurance.
For those individuals who have already gone through a qualifying event, however, they will not have to worry about having to undergo COBRA insurance. When an individual loses his or her job through a qualifying event, he or she simply needs to wait a certain amount of time before becoming eligible for COBRA health coverage. In some cases, an individual who loses his or her job may not be offered any unemployment compensation in the event that he or she needs to go through COBRA health coverage. While COBRA insurance will not automatically kick someone out of their job, it is not considered a qualifying event for that purpose. If you work in the federal government, for example, you will most likely be offered COBRA insurance, even if you were forced to accept a less desirable job due to a federal mandate.
When it comes to eligibility for COBRA insurance, it is important to remember that the qualifications are very specific. Only those individuals who were truly eligible for employment-based federal assistance will be allowed to qualify for COBRA. If you were eligible for Medicaid but lost your job, your only option for coverage will be Medicare Part A. If you were eligible for Medicaid but became uninsured after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, you will probably be eligible for Medicare Part B. If you qualified for Medicaid but became uninsured within a year of that coverage, you will likely qualify for Medicaid only for the months you spent without a coverage gap.