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Nebraska COBRA Insurance
We know that job loss is scary and we know that figuring out what health insurance option to choose - federal COBRA, Nebraska COBRA insurance, or a private plan can feel mind-boggling. We also now how important this decision is and want to make sure you have the information you need to make an informed decision for you or for your family.
The first step of feeling confident in your decision is to understand what options you have in Nebraska. Every state is a little different so knowing specifically what Nebraska offers is important. Use this article to understand the main options you have when you face losing your health insurance.
Choice 1: Nebraska COBRA Insurance and Federal COBRA
Did you or a family member recently lose, quit, or retire from your job? If so, then COBRA might be a good option for you. COBRA insurance, which is actually a law not an insurance plan, was set up in 1986 by the federal government to help people when they lost their job by allowing them to keep the plan they had. That way they didn't experience a time without insurance. The law covered most people who worked at companies with over 20 employees. Wanting the same coverage for Nebraska residents who worked at smaller companies, Nebraska followed suit and passed their own COBRA insurance law for people working at companies with between 2-19 employees. Under both plans you have the option to continue to keep your health plan for a specified period of time.
How much does it cost? Federal COBRA and Nebraska COBRA insurance are unfortunately very expensive. If you choose to keep the same insurance plan with COBRA you will be responsible for paying 102% of the entire premium. Entire premium means both what you were used to paying plus anything your employer paid, usually up to 90% of the cost. With COBRA, you must fun the full cost.
How long does it last? The federal COBRA plan lasts 18 months in most cases. However the Nebraska COBRA plan for people at smaller companies only lasts for 6 months. It truly is meant to be a temporary, interim insurance plan.
Who is eligible for COBRA? In most cases, anyone who was on the health insurance plan will be eligible under COBRA including the employee, their spouse, and any dependents. Additionally most people qualify who quit, retired, or lost their job as long as there was no major wrongdoing.
Choice 2: Private Health Insurance
Can't afford COBRA insurance or don't qualify? Then the next best option for most people is a private insurance plan. There are hundreds of options out there that can offer very strong coverage at a much lower price if you are generally healthy. These plans can be explored by getting a free quote below and finding out what you are eligible for and how much it costs. You will see quotes for full coverage plans, short-term plans, and catastrophic plans. Explore each one to find out what is right for your current needs.
Choice 3: Government or Community Based Medical Plans
Finally the last option that usually does not apply to many people is to look at community and government insurance programs. To qualify for these programs you must have income below a certain level and be able to show true need. You can learn more about these programs through the Health and Human Services Department.
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Nebraska Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a Nebraska COBRA insurance plan I can use if I got denied from the federal plan?
Potentially you will qualify for the Nebraska COBRA option but it depends on why you were denied coverage at the national level. If you were denied due to the number of employees on your plan then likely you will qualify for Nebraska coverage. However if you were denied for another reason, you will likely not qualify for Nebraska COBRA either. To be sure you should check with your plan administrator or former employer.
How do I know which COBRA plan – national of Nebraska Mini COBRA – to use?
You will not actually be choosing which plan to use, but instead you will only qualify for one coverage option. The first option that you need to look at is federal COBRA insurance to find out if you are eligible. If you are not eligible, then you want to explore Nebraska COBRA, which is an extension plan for people who do not qualify at the national level.
Can I use the Nebraska plan when my federal COBRA runs out?
Currently that is not an option in Nebraska and once COBRA runs out you will have to look for new coverage. The only state right now that offers this is California through Cal–COBRA. Many people find that private insurance can provide very similar coverage when COBRA is completed.
How long can my family and I use the Nebraska COBRA coverage?
The coverage in Nebraska is only viable for six months from that date on the COBRA election notice. It is meant to be a temporary solution to get you through the difficult time after job loss and give you and your family time to seek out alternative insurance options.
How do I request a COBRA enrollment form from my company?
You should receive an election notice within 14 days of losing your health insurance but you should reach out to your company and health insurance provider immediately to receive a notice. There is a time limit for completing your enrollment form and when you miss that deadline you are no longer eligible for COBRA in Nebraska.