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Maine COBRA Insurance
With small businesses on the rise and more and more people working at companies with under 20 employees, health insurance decisions regarding COBRA can be tricky if you are laid off, quit, or retire from a company with a small number of employees. Under the federal COBRA law, most people's first thought when they are laid off, you only qualify if the plan you were on had at least 20 full time employees on the plan. Luckily in Maine, the state created a Mini COBRA plan that offers COBRA insurance to people who work at smaller companies.
Maine COBRA Insurance Explained
Knowing that many residents would not qualify for federal COBRA, Maine created it's own Mini COBRA plan that allows people who worked at companies with between 2-19 employees to have the option to maintain their health insurance plan. Under this plan, if you meet the four requirements below, you can choose to keep the health insurance plan you had while working. Everything about the plan stays exactly the same in terms of coverage.
- Qualifying Plan: The health insurance plan you (or the covered worker) was on is still active and has between 2-19 employees on the plan.
- Qualifying Event: The worker lost, quit, or retired from their job without gross misconduct or wrongdoing. Additionally, divorce and loss of dependent status can qualify people for COBRA, as can death of the covered employee and when the covered employee qualifies for Medicare.
- Qualifying Beneficiary: The people who are eligible for COBRA include the worker, spouse, and dependents.
- You do not qualify for federal COBRA.
Maine COBRA Cost
The cost of Maine COBRA insurance is very expensive for most people. Under the law, your employer is no longer responsible for paying any part of the insurance cost for you, meaning you have to pay the whole premium plus a 2% admin fee. For the average four-person family this is over $1000 monthly. You can determine how much your Maine COBRA would be by looking at your election form, calculating it yourself, or contacting your former employer.
Maine Mini COBRA Coverage Length
Unlike COBRA insurance from the federal government, which lasts 18 months, Maine COBRA health insurance lasts 12 months, or 1 year. At the end of that one-year you will be responsible for finding an alternative health insurance plan. Although many people opt to choose an alternative from the start since you can save so much money.
Alternatives to Maine COBRA
Luckily, Maine COBRA and federal COBRA are not your only health insurance options after job loss. For some people, especially with serious health needs, COBRA is a great option because private insurers would charge ridiculously high amounts or they would be rejected outright. However for people who are generally healthy, private insurance companies offer great plans that can save families over $600 monthly for the same coverage. To learn what plans are out there and compare them to the cost of Maine COBRA plans, get a free quote below. There is no obligation to sign up and you will be able to explore many options to find the right plan for you.
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Maine Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for Maine Mini COBRA?
The main qualifications to be able to sign up for Mini Maine COBRA are the same as the federal COBRA law, except that the qualifying plan requirement changes from needing at least 20 employees on the plan, to having between 2-19 employees on the health plan. It is essentially an extension of the federal law so that people working at smaller companies can also benefit from being able to use their employer sponsored health plan after job loss or another qualifying event.
What type of coverage will I have if I enroll in Maine Mini COBRA insurance?
COBRA is a law, not an insurance plan. Under the law you have the option to continue to use the plan you had while you were employed. Therefore under Maine COBRA coverage, the coverage is exactly the same as it was since it is the same plan. Similarly if your employer makes any changes to the plan, they will affect you in the same way as they would if you were still employed.
How can I save money on my monthly premiums for Maine COBRA?
There are many ways to save money on COBRA and they will depend on your situation to determine what options are best for you. The most common way that people who are relatively healthy save money is to use a private plan. For people with more serious health needs there may be governmental plans or PCIP plans that can save money. Learn more about how to reduce the cost.
Can I sign my children up for any lower cost insurance options other than Maine COBRA insurance?
The state has their own health insurance program for children under 18 years old called MaineCare. If you qualify for this coverage, you can get free or lower cost care through multiple doctors and providers. Normally your income will determine eligibility for the program.
Will my Maine COBRA plan work if the business I worked at cancels their plan?
Since COBRA depends on continuing the group health insurance plan you had, if that plan no longer exists then COBRA coverage is no longer an option. If you are in this situation, make sure to check with your employer because in some cases employers will extend the plan for a short time to give people time to find a new health insurance plan.