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Kentucky COBRA Insurance
If you live in the state of Kentucky and found out you don't qualify for federal COBRA insurance because the company you work for is too small, you may still have an option for Kentucky COBRA insurance, also known as Kentucky Mini COBRA.
After realizing that many of its residents missed out on COBRA benefits because the companies they worked at were too small, Kentucky wanted to make sure there was a COBRA option for those people and that they didn't find themselves without health insurance after becoming unemployed, quitting their job, or retiring from their job. They also wanted to make sure that family members were protected as well.
How Does Kentucky COBRA Insurance Work?
Kentucky COBRA works the same way as the federal plan and gives people the option to continue to keep their exact same medical insurance plan when they are laid off, let go, quit, or retire. It is a simple continuation of the plan the employee (and their family) had, so everything stay the same - doctors, prescriptions, copays, deductibles, everything. The main things that change with COBRA from when you were employed are:
- Cost of COBRA Insurance: With COBRA in Kentucky you are responsible for paying the entire premium yourself without any employer help. Your employer no longer pays a portion of the cost since you are no longer employed. On top of that there is a 2% administration charge from the health insurance company. The average individual will spend over $400 monthly on COBRA versus about $50 when they were employed.
- Length of Coverage: COBRA is only meant to be a temporary solution that gets you through a difficult time. The normal length of coverage 18 months and in some situations, such as divorce or death of the covered employee, coverage can last up to 36 months.
Eligibility for Kentucky COBRA
To enroll in COBRA if you decide that is the best insurance option for you, you must meet three conditions set out in the law - qualifying event, qualifying plan, and qualifying beneficiary. You also cannot be eligible for federal COBRA insurance to sign up for Kentucky Mini COBRA. It is only for people who can't get that coverage.
The first condition known as qualifying event is how you lost health insurance. As long as there is no misconduct, you can qualify if you are laid off, quit, or even retire from your job. If you are a dependent or spouse, you can qualify when the covered employee is laid off, quits, or retires and are also eligible for COBRA in the event of divorce, death, Medicare eligibility, or loss of dependent status.
The second condition, qualifying plan, is specific for Kentucky COBRA. You must have been on the health insurance plan with your previous company for at least 3 months, it must still be active, and it must cover between 2-19 employees or their part time equivalents. For companies that covered more employees, you would be eligible for federal COBRA.
The last condition, qualifying beneficiary, is just who is allowed to sign up. For Kentucky COBRA this can include the covered employee, their spouse, and their dependents. It will also extend to any new family members while you are covered.
Alternatives to Kentucky COBRA
Is Kentucky COBRA health insurance too expensive? For most people it is. Spending over $1000 monthly to insure a family of four after losing your job can be impossible. Luckily there are some other options out there. The first and most common is to get your own health insurance plan through a private company and save up to 65%. To find out what plans are out there, get a free quote below to see a list of available plans in your area. Also, you may want to look into governmental insurance programs if your income is below or near the poverty line.
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Kentucky Frequently Asked Questions
Can I qualify for Kentucky Mini COBRA even if I don't meet the requirements of the federal plan?
It depends on why you are not eligible for federal coverage. If the reason you didn't qualify for federal coverage was due to the number of people on your health insurance plan then you are in luck – Kentucky Mini COBRA was created just for that. If you were denied for another reason, unfortunately you will also be disqualified from the state plan.
I was fired from my company; can I still enroll in Kentucky COBRA insurance?
It depends on the reason you were fired. Under the law you do not qualify for Kentucky COBRA if you were fired due to gross misconduct. Gross misconduct usually refers to very serious wrongdoings or negligence and not simply being late or making an error.
Should I sign up for Kentucky COBRA or federal COBRA? Which is better?
Essentially the plans are exactly the same and both will allow you to continue to use your health insurance plan after losing your job. However you cannot choose to use one plan or the other, because if you qualify for federal COBRA then you automatically do not qualify for Kentucky COBRA. Kentucky's plan is a safety net for people who cannot use the coverage through the national plan.
What happens if I don't send in the premium payment on time for my Kentucky Mini COBRA?
Most companies will terminate your policy if you do not send in the payment on time. If for any reason you will not be able to make the payment, reach out to your insurance company immediately and let them know. Being proactive will increase the chances that the company will provide you with an extension.
Does Kentucky have any health insurance plans for children if COBRA isn't affordable for my family?
In Kentucky the state has created the Kentucky Kids Health Program, also sometimes called KCHIP, which offers low cost health insurance to children up to 18 years old. There are certain income limits for what families can participate in the program. If you are eligible the plan will include both medical and dental coverage.