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Delaware COBRA Insurance
Losing health insurance isn't easy for anyone, and it is even harder when you are losing health insurance due to job loss, divorce, death, or loss of dependent status. Recognizing this in 1986, the government passed the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA for short, to help people in this exact situation. This law allowed people who were losing health insurance to continue to use their exact same plan if they met certain conditions set forth in the law.
In addition after seeing the federal government pass a COBRA law, many states began to pass their own laws to extend these types of benefits to even more residents. These laws are normally known as Mini COBRA plans or COBRA extension plans. The most common provision set forth in these state plans was offering COBRA to people who worked at companies with less than 20 employees. Unfortunately the state of Delaware has not yet created such a program so the only option for COBRA in Delaware is the federal program.
What is COBRA Insurance?
COBRA insurance is a law, not an insurance plan that sets out to help people in various situations who are losing their health insurance. The most common situation is job loss, retirement, or when someone quits their job; however COBRA also applies in some other situations including divorce from a covered employee, death of the covered employee, if the covered employee qualifies for Medicaid, or if a dependent loses their dependent status. Under this law, employees and their families have the option to keep their former employer's health insurance plan for up to 18 months (may extend to a maximum of 36 months in special circumstances.) The health insurance plan will stay exactly the same as it was when the person was employed.
How Much Does COBRA Insurance in Delaware Cost?
The cost of COBRA insurance in Delaware is determined by the federal COBRA health laws and is 102% of the premium cost. That means that you will have to pay the whole premium, what your employer paid and what you paid, plus a 2% administration charge. For example, if your employer paid $400 for your plan, and you paid $100, your monthly COBRA premium would be $510.
Who Can Sign Up For Delaware COBRA Insurance?
In order to sign up for COBRA insurance in Delaware you must meet three conditions that are set forth in the law. The first is known as qualifying plan and it refers to the type of plan the covered employee has. It must insure at least 20 people or their part time equivalents to be eligible. The second provision is known as qualifying event and refers to how health insurance was lost. The covered employee must have lost, quit, or retired from their job without gross misconduct. You can also qualify for COBRA health if you are divorcing a covered employee, if the covered employee passes away, if the covered employee qualifies for Medicare, or if a child loses dependent status. The final provision, known as qualifying beneficiary is who is eligible for the coverage. Normally anyone who was covered will be able to maintain coverage if they choose with COBRA.
Are There Less Expensive Health Insurance Options in Delaware?
Since COBRA insurance is so expensive, especially after job loss, many people look to alternative plans that are less expensive. For folks who are generally healthy, there are many plans that can offer comprehensive coverage at a much lower cost. They are able to due this because they are only covering you (and your family) on the plan and not the many people who may have had health conditions at your place of employment. The average savings by using a private plan is 65%. To learn more about what options you have for private, more affordable plans, get a free health insurance quote below which will show you many plans, their costs, and what they cover.
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Delaware Frequently Asked Questions
My company only has five employees; can I sign up for Delaware COBRA insurance?
Unlike many other states, Delaware does not have a state run COBRA program for employees at smaller companies. That means that if you do not qualify for federal COBRA, which you wouldn't at a company with less than 20 employees, then there are no COBRA options for you. To find another health insurance plan, you can explore these other health insurance options.
I don't think I will able to afford COBRA in Delaware, what other options do I have?
The most common option to find a less expensive insurance policy is to sign up for a plan through a private company. However if you are under a certain income limit you may qualify for Medicaid and/or CHIP, which is an insurance program for children. Additionally if you have a health condition you may qualify for the state high-risk pool or PCIP insurance, which can be cheaper than COBRA.
If I use federal COBRA coverage in Delaware, how long does it normally last for?
In most situations, the covered employee and any spouse and/or dependents can use COBRA for 18 months. In special instances where there is another COBRA qualifying event, COBRA can be used for an additional 11 months. Finally for spouses and dependents who qualify due to divorce, death, or Medicare eligibility, coverage can be used for 36 months.
Why is Delaware COBRA health insurance so costly?
The short answer is because it is an extension of the employer plan. Group health insurance plans tend to be very expensive because they must cover everyone at that place of work regardless of their medical needs. Since there are undoubtedly employees or family members with serious medical needs in a large place of work, these costs are shared by everyone, thus driving up the cost.
I have federal COBRA insurance but am moving out of Delaware, will it still work?
Probably not. Unfortunately most insurance plans are written to only provide coverage with the state. When people move beyond state lines, the insurance plan will no longer cover them, which means that they can no longer use COBRA. In rare situations, COBRA can be used when you move out of state if your insurance company covers you. Call your insurance company to find out their policy and if you will be able to use COBRA when you move.