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Health Insurance Options
Iowa COBRA Insurance
For people living in Iowa who are facing losing their health insurance due to job loss, retirement, or even quitting, Iowa COBRA insurance is one option to make sure you don't go without health insurance. Maintaining health insurance is extremely important because you never know when a medical emergency could happen. Also, with todays HIPAA laws, it is easier to get a new policy when you are already insured. Having a lapse in coverage makes it more difficult to get new insurance and can lead to rejection due to preexisting conditions. One way to maintain coverage is through COBRA insurance in Iowa but everyone should also explore private plans.
Iowa Continuation Insurance and COBRA Insurance
The first option that most people explore after job loss, retirement, or after quitting their job is COBRA insurance. COBRA is a federal law that was set up in 1986 and allows people to continue to use their former employer's health insurance plan for up to 18 months. If you qualify for COBRA health insurance, your plan remains the exact same as if you (or the employee who covers you) still worked there. The main difference with COBRA is that you are now responsible for the full cost plus 2% and that the plan will eventually run out.
Iowa Continuation Insurance is very similar to COBRA, but is run by the state of Iowa and opens up COBRA coverage to more people. Specifically, Iowa Continuation Insurance, or Iowa COBRA insurance, extends COBRA benefits to people who work at smaller companies with under 20 employees who wouldn't otherwise qualify for the federal law. One other main difference is the Iowa COBRA plan only lasts for 9 months, as opposed to the 18 months of federal COBRA.
Qualifying for Iowa Continuation Insurance
To determine if you are eligible for Iowa COBRA insurance or federal COBRA, you need to investigate the three provisions in the law that determine eligibility. Or you can just ask at your workplace.
- Qualifying Plan: To be eligible for federal COBRA coverage you have been on a health insurance plan with your employer that covered at least 20 full time employees and that plan must still be active. To qualify for Iowa COBRA insurance, you must have been on a plan with between 2-19 employees for at least 3 months that is still active. Additionally, you can only qualify for Iowa Continuation Insurance if you do not qualify for federal COBRA.
- Qualifying Event: For COBRA or Iowa COBRA you can qualify if you (or the employee who covers you) lost, quit, or retired from their job and there isn't any gross misconduct like theft or assault. In addition if you employee who covers you passes away, qualifies for Medicare, or you get divorced from them, you can also be eligible. Finally if you were a dependent child and grow out of your dependent status, this can be a qualifying event.
- Qualifying Beneficiary: Anyone who was on the health insurance plan including the covered employee, their spouse, and any dependents qualify for COBRA and Iowa Continuation insurance.
Cost of Iowa COBRA Insurance
The cost of Iowa Continuation and federal COBRA are the same, 102% of the premium. This refers to both the amount you contributed when you were employed and any amount your employer paid. Since employers generally cover the majority of health care expenses, most people find their COBRA premiums are extremely high.
Finding Alternate Medical Insurance in Iowa
There are many other options besides COBRA or Iowa Continuation insurance is you are losing your health insurance, and many of these are much more affordable. Since employer sponsored health insurance plans cover many different people with varying health needs, they tend to be very expensive. And COBRA is one of those plans. However, when you branch out on your own, you only pay for the type of coverage and risk level of you and your family. In fact most people save over 60% when they choose a private plan instead of COBRA. To find out what plans you qualify for and their costs, get a free quote below. The quote provides a log list of insurance plans you qualify for and makes comparing plans to COBRA a snap.
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Iowa Frequently Asked Questions
I live in Iowa and don't qualify for federal coverage, is there an Iowa COBRA plan I can use?
If the reason that you don't qualify for federal COBRA is due to the size of your company, then you can sign up for Iowa Continuation insurance, which works just like COBRA but is specifically designed for people who work at companies with fewer employees. Just like the federal option, Iowa Continuation is a law and simply lets you continue to use the health insurance you had while employed.
What is the maximum amount of time I can use my Iowa Continuation insurance plan?
Iowa Continuation coverage only lasts for 9 months. At the end of the 9 months you will be responsible for finding your own health insurance. It is meant to serve as a temporary solution to ensure you have the medical care you need while you seek out a new job with benefits or purchase your own insurance.
How will my coverage and plan change when I enroll in Iowa COBRA?
Under the Iowa Continuation law, you are not signing up for a new insurance plan but instead extending the plan you had with your former employer. Since it is the same plan, the coverage doesn't change at all when you enroll in Iowa COBRA. However, if your former employer makes any changes to the plan, they will also affect your coverage as well since you are on that plan still.
I have a preexisting condition, but COBRA is really expensive in Iowa; are there other options?
In Iowa there are two options for people who have a preexisting condition and are having trouble affording their monthly COBRA payments – the Iowa high risk pool and private preexisting condition insurance. However, make sure to consider the changes to your coverage carefully when looking at other options because in many instances you may have to change your doctors and treatment plan.
My former employer never sent me an Iowa Continuation election notice, what can I do?
The best thing to do is reach out to both your former company and former insurance company and ask them to send a form immediately. If you believe they will not send it or that you missed the enrollment window due to not receiving a COBRA election form, then you should contact the Iowa Department of Labor.