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Arkansas COBRA Insurance
In addition to the federal COBRA health insurance, the state of Arkansas has its own Arkansas mini COBRA insurance plan for people who do not qualify for federal coverage. The state set up this program to help its residents who recently lost, quit, or retired from their jobs so that they won't suddenly find themselves without health insurance.
The Arkansas Mini COBRA program is an option for anyone in the state of Arkansas who can't get federal COBRA coverage. It functions almost exactly the same but extends to more people. With that said, it is an expensive health insurance option so it is smart to always consider alternatives to Arkansas COBRA insurance before signing up to make sure you get the best plan for your money.
What is Arkansas Mini COBRA?
Arkansas Mini COBRA is a way to extend health insurance for you and any family members after you are laid off from your job, quit your job, or retire from your job. With this coverage you keep the exact same insurance plan you had when you were employed. This means that you have the same doctors, prescription plan, deductibles, co-payments, emergency room policies, etc. that you had when you were employed. The main difference is that you are responsible for paying the entire premium with a 2% administration fee.
How Do You Qualify For Arkansas COBRA Insurance?
To qualify to sign up for this insurance, you must meet certain requirements that are set out by the state. They are essentially the same as the federal requirements with a few key changes.
- You do not qualify for federal COBRA insurance
- You work for a company that covers between 2-19 employees on their health insurance plan in Arkansas
- You were on that company's plan for at least 3 months
- You were laid off, quit, or retired from your job and did not lose your job due to gross misconduct
- Family members who were on your plan will also be eligible for Arkansas Mini COBRA
- You are a family member of a covered employee who passed away or became eligible for Medicare
- You are the ex-spouse of a covered employee who has gone through a legal divorce or separation
- You were the dependent child of a covered employee and lost your dependent status
Essentially the main difference between federal COBRA and Arkansas COBRA is that it extends to employees (and covered family members) who worked at a company with between 2-19 employees and therefore do not qualify for federal COBRA.
How Much Does Arkansas Mini COBRA Cost?
Getting coverage with Arkansas Mini COBRA is expensive. You will be responsible for paying the entire premium plus a 2% administration fee. That means you must pay both what you paid monthly for health insurance while you were employed plus whatever your employer contributed. For most employees, their employers subsidize between 25%-90% of the cost, so you now must pay that. This adds up to over $1000 monthly for the average family.
How Long Does Arkansas COBRA Insurance Last?
Unfortunately the Arkansas Mini COBRA plan only lasts for 120 days, or 4 months, as opposed to the federal plan that lasts for 18 months. It is meant to be a temporary solution while families or individuals seek out new work that has health insurance or purchases a private health insurance plan.
What Alternatives Are There to Arkansas Mini COBRA?
Fortunately there are many alternatives to Arkansas Mini COBRA insurance that are much less expensive. These include looking at private health insurance plans, which normally save the consumer up to 60% and exploring any government plans you may qualify for. It is always wise to explore alternatives because most people find not only does this save them a significant amount of money, it also provides a long term solution where as Arkansas COBRA only works for 4 months.
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Arkansas Frequently Asked Questions
What is Arkansas Mini COBRA?
Arkansas Mini COBRA is a state run version of the federal COBRA law that makes continuing your health insurance after job loss possible for people who work at smaller companies. Under the federal law, COBRA only works if your company has at least 20 employees insured. On the other hand, the state law extends to people who work at companies with as little as two employees.
How long must I have participated in my health plan to be eligible for Arkansas Mini COBRA insurance?
Under the state law, you must have been active in the plan for at least 3 months to be able to enroll in COBRA in Arkansas. The 3-month period is counted backwards from the date you would lose coverage. If you have not been on the plan for 3 months than you will have to seek out an alternative insurance option.
How do I apply for the Arkansas COBRA health insurance program?
You must apply in writing to be eligible for Arkansas COBRA ten days before the change to your policy would start. This essentially means that you should apply for coverage as soon as you find out you are losing your job. It may always be cancelled in the future if you find a better or more affordable option.
Can I use Arkansas Mini COBRA if I qualify for Medicare?
In this situation, you may not use both Arkansas and Medicare at the same time. If you qualify for Medicare, you are automatically disqualified from using COBRA. However your spouse and dependents may use Arkansas COBRA coverage to keep their benefits since qualifying for Medicare is considered a qualifying event.
How long does Arkansas COBRA coverage last for?
In most situation coverage with COBRA in Arkansas will only last for 120 days from the date you lost coverage. It is a very short-term solution to give you protection while you seek out an alternate insurance option or find new employment with health benefits.