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Illinois COBRA Insurance
Depending on your situation and former employer, there are two different types of COBRA insurance in Illinois. The first is offered through the federal government and is normally called COBRA, which is short for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. If you qualify for the federal plan, then you are not eligible for the second state option. However, if you do not qualify, you may be able to enroll in the state program known as Illinois Health Insurance Continuation Rights Law, or Illinois COBRA continuation. Both programs have similar requirements and will allow you to continue your health insurance, but the state plan extends coverage to people who work at companies with fewer than 20 employees and therefore wouldn't qualify for federal COBRA health insurance.
Illinois Health Insurance Continuation Rights Law
If you have determined that you do not qualify for federal COBRA, then the Illinois Health Insurance Continuation Rights Law, or Illinois COBRA may be an option for you, albeit a temporary and expensive one. In order to be eligible for this plan you must still meet the three federal conditions - qualifying event, qualifying plan, and qualifying beneficiary. However there is one major change to qualifying plan.
First is the qualifying event. In order to qualify for Illinois COBRA insurance you (or the covered employee) must have lost, quit, or retired from their job without any misconduct present. In addition a qualifying event for a spouse or dependent could include death of the covered employee, divorce from the covered employee, the covered employee being eligible for Medicare, or if you are a dependent and lose your status.
Secondly, is the qualifying plan. Again, this is the key differentiating factor between Illinois COBRA and the federal plan. To qualify you must have covered on your employer's health insurance plan, the plan itself must still be active, and it must have covered anywhere from 2-19 employees.
Lastly is the qualifying beneficiary, or who can choose to enroll in COBRA. The covered employee, their spouse, and any dependents are able to enroll.
Cost of the Illinois COBRA Health Insurance
Again much like the federal plan, the cost of IL COBRA is 102% of the premium. This includes both what the covered employee paid monthly from their paycheck as well as anything the employer funded. Since employers tend to highly subsidize the cost of health care, many times COBRA is very expensive.
Illinois COBRA Coverage Length
The final key difference between Illinois COBRA and the federal coverage is the length of time it lasts. The state plan will only provide you with 9 months of coverage during which time you will need to find new health insurance.
Alternatives to Illinois COBRA Coverage
Fortuitously there are other options than just the state plan, which is both expensive and very short term. Whether or not you qualify for COBRA it is always smart to look at other programs before signing up because you can almost always save money, especially if you are healthy. Private insurance companies offer a wide variety of plans including full coverage plans, catastrophic plans, and short-term plans that may be a better option.
To find out what options are available for you and your family and to see how much money you can save, get a free quote below. It only takes a couple of minutes and will present you with a long list of possible plans to choose from and compare to COBRA. There is no obligation to sign up but it is the best way to compare plans and make a cost conscious decision.
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Illinois Frequently Asked Questions
Does Illinois have a mini COBRA program for people who work at smaller companies?
Yes, in Illinois there is a mini COBRA that is called Illinois Health Insurance Continuation. This program opens up COBRA benefits to people who are ineligible for the federal program because they work at a company with fewer than 20 employees.
How much does Illinois Health Insurance Continuation cost?
The cost of the Illinois COBRA coverage is 102% of the monthly cost of the health insurance plan. Your employer will no longer pay any percent of the cost and you will be responsible for paying the full amount monthly or the plan can be terminated. Normally you can find this amount of the enrollment form for Illinois COBRA.
Can my spouse and children also sign up for Illinois Health Insurance Continuation?
Yes, assuming you qualify then your spouse and children will be qualifying beneficiaries under the Illinois Health Insurance Continuation law and can also use the plan. Like you they will be eligible for 18 months.
What options do I have through the state if I can't afford Illinois COBRA?
In Illinois there are two main options for people who can't afford IL COBRA from the state government. The first is Medicaid, which is available to some individuals and children living at or near the poverty line. Additionally, for children who are 18 years old or younger there is an Illinois CHIPS program that provides free or reduced cost care. If you do not qualify for a state plan, you can also find private plans that are more affordable than COBRA in many cases.
Are there any reasons that the state would terminate my Illinois Health Insurance Continuation?
The most common things that cause Illinois COBRA to be terminated are failure to pay premiums on time or qualification for another insurance plan. If at any point your qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, a new workplace insurance plan, or any other coverage; then your COBRA plan is terminated.