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Arizona COBRA Insurance
Being laid off from your job is a scary time for many reasons. Not only do you have to worry about money and finding another job, many people are suddenly confronted with difficult decisions about health insurance. Do you sign up for Arizona COBRA insurance? Should you find a plan on your own? Can you get government help with healthcare? How much does all of this cost? The questions can seem endless for anyone in this situation.
The questions can also be the same for people who just quit their job or retired from their job. No matter what the events were that caused someone to lose health insurance, considering Arizona COBRA insurance and the many other options can be overwhelming. Luckily, once you understand the basics and what your options are, you can make a decision that makes sense for you and your family.
Understanding Arizona COBRA Insurance
In many states there are two COBRA insurance options that people can consider - federal COBRA and state COBRA mini plans. Unfortunately the state of Arizona does not offer a state plan so the only COBRA option is the federal plan.
The federal COBRA insurance option is actually a law, not an insurance plan, that was passed in 1986 to protect people from immediately losing health insurance when they lost their job. Under this law, employers had to offer their employees the option to continue to use their health insurance plan after losing, quitting, or retiring from their jobs if they met certain conditions. Most people meet these conditions as long as they work at a company with at least 20 employees on the health plan and didn't lose their job due to stealing, violence, or other gross misconduct.
With COBRA the plan stays exactly the same, since it is the same plan, but the main difference is that the employee is now responsible for paying the entire premium. Since most employers pay between 50-90% of health insurance costs, this is quite a significant cost for most using at Arizona COBRA health insurance. Luckily there are also some other options out there.
Alternatives to Arizona COBRA Insurance
In addition to exploring COBRA health insurance it is also important to look at other options that may provide similar coverage at a much lower price point. There are various other options out there that suit many people, especially people without preexisting conditions, and can save up to 65% monthly in premium costs.
- Arizona Government Health Plans: For families and individuals under a certain income level, governmental health insurance options are normally the most affordable and sometimes even free. These programs are provided through the state government and federal government and are dedicated to helping people maintain health care coverage during difficult financial times.
- Private Health Insurance Options in Arizona: The second option to investigate is private health plans that are offered through various companies. These plans offer many different coverage options at different price points depending on your needs. For people who are generally healthy these plans normally are up to 65% less expensive than Arizona COBRA and can provide almost identical coverage. There are also options for short-term coverage, high deductible coverage, and catastrophic plans that provide very inexpensive coverage for major medical needs.
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Arizona Frequently Asked Questions
I don't qualify for federal COBRA, is there an Arizona COBRA insurance plan I can use?
There currently is not a state run COBRA plan in Arizona for those residents who do not qualify for the federal plan because they work at smaller companies. Therefore your insurance options will normally be signing up for a private plan or looking for a government plan if your income is below a certain state determined limit.
What government options are there in Arizona for people who can't afford COBRA?
There are some options in Arizona for free or reduced cost health insurance through the government. These include the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (Arizona Medicaid Program) and KidsCare (Arizona Children's Health Insurance Program), both of which are programs for people living at or under a certain income limit or having trouble finding affordable health insurance.
My child is in graduate school and is about to turn 26, can he use COBRA insurance in Arizona?
Given that your health insurance plan qualifies under the COBRA laws (normally this just means that it insures twenty people or more), then your son will be eligible for COBRA. He will be able to keep the coverage for up to 36 months, but will have to pay the full premium to keep the same plan. If he is generally healthy, he can likely find a private plan that is much less expensive or may be able to find a health plan through the university he attends.
Who can I contact about problems with my Arizona COBRA plan?
The best agency to contact when you have problems with your COBRA is the Arizona Department of Insurance who oversees all insurance issues in the state. They will be able to help you better understand your rights with COBRA and the obligations of your employer. Additionally if you think you have been denied benefits wrongfully, you can also contact this department.
I am moving to New Mexico, will my COBRA coverage from Arizona still work?
It depends on your health plan and the area that is specified for coverage in your plan. Many plans only work within state lines. You should reach out to your health insurance company to determine if your COBRA will still work in New Mexico.