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Minnesota COBRA Insurance
Navigating the COBRA insurance waters after job loss can be tricky and confusing. Not only do you have to deal with the stress of losing your job, but on top of that you have to determine if you want to use COBRA insurance or an alternative to maintain medical coverage for you and your family.
Fortunately in Minnesota, there are multiple options to consider when you lose your health insurance including federal COBRA, Minnesota COBRA insurance, private medical insurance, and possibly government/community health insurance. You should always consider all four options before making a decision, as well as consider financial constraints and medical needs when weighing health care options.
Federal COBRA Insurance
The first place most people look for health insurance after they lose their job, retire from their job, and even quit their job is COBRA insurance from the federal government. COBRA allows people to continue to use the health insurance plan they had when they were employed for up to 18 months if they meet the requirements in the law. This means you keep the exact same health insurance plan.
Under the law you must have a qualifying plan, have a qualifying event, and are a qualified beneficiary. The qualifying plan requirement is the type of health insurance plan you had while you were employed. It must still be active and cover at least 20 full time employees for you and your family to be eligible for COBRA. Additionally, you must have a qualifying event. For the employee this could be any type of job loss, including being laid off, quitting, or retiring. For a family member this could include death of the covered employee, Medicare eligibility of the covered employee, divorce, or loss of dependent status. Finally you must be a qualified beneficiary, which means you are the covered employee, a spouse, or a dependent.
Federal COBRA coverage comes at an expensive price tag however. Since you are no longer employed by the company they will no longer subsidize any of the cost. You will have to pay the entire premium plus a 2% administration fee. You can find the full cost of your premium on your COBRA paperwork or on a recent paystub. Simply add together what you pad and what your employer paid.
Minnesota COBRA Insurance
In addition to federal COBRA, the state offers it's own Minnesota COBRA insurance plan made for people who do not qualify for federal COBRA. With this plan, which works identically to the federal coverage, if you work for a company with between 2-19 employees, and meet the other conditions of the federal coverage (included above) you can sign up through the state plan. It also lasts 18 months in most cases and will cost 102% of the full premium.
Private Health Plans
The third option everyone should consider are private health insurance plans, especially if the cost of COBRA is too expensive. Private health insurance companies offer a wide variety of plans at many price ranges and coverage options. They range from comprehensive plans that rival at employer plan to high deductible and catastrophic plans that only offer emergency coverage. Most healthy individuals and families save over 65% when they choose a private plan. To learn more about private plans, get a free quote below. It will provide you with multiple options from many companies and you can compare their rates to COBRA.
Government and Community Medical Plans
The last option people should consider are government and community health plans, normally available to people under a certain income limit. These plans offer free and reduced cost coverage and could be an option.
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Minnesota Frequently Asked Questions
Does Minnesota have a Mini COBRA plan option?
For people who are not able to use federal COBRA because the company they worked at is too small, Minnesota created a Mini COBRA plan that creates the same benefits and allows people to continue their health insurance plan if they choose. The coverage lasts 18 months and can be used by spouses and beneficiaries. Additionally, just like federal COBRA, there are additional qualifying events like divorce or death that can trigger eligibility.
How will my coverage change if I enroll in Minnesota Mini COBRA?
The great thing about COBRA in Minnesota is that the coverage doesn't change at all; you just continue the same plan you had. However the price of the plan will change because you will be responsible for paying the entire premium.
Does Minnesota COBRA last a different length of time than the federal plan?
No. Both the Minnesota and federal plans last for 18 months under normal qualifying events. For qualifying events that involve things like divorce, Medicare qualification, death of the employee, or losing dependency Minnesota COBRA can be used for up to three years.
What happens to my Minnesota COBRA insurance if my workplace changes health insurance plans?
Because Minnesota COBRA is a continuation of the exact same health insurance, it functions just as it would if you were still working. This means that when the plan changes at the company, your plan changes in the same way. You have the same options to choose to enroll, change coverage, etc. that you would have if employed. It is the responsibility of the company to inform you when these changes happen.
Can the cost of my COBRA insurance change while I am enrolled?
The cost of Minnesota COBRA can change if the cost of the plan at the company you worked for changes. Normally this happens once a year at a company and you should be notified of the change. Then you have the decision if you want to continue to sue COBRA or look for a lower cost alternative.