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North Carolina COBRA Insurance
In the state of North Carolina there are two different COBRA programs that people may qualify for after they or their family members quit their jobs, lose their jobs, or retire from their jobs. These programs were created to help people so that they don't suddenly have to go without health insurance if they lost their job. Under both of the plans - federal and North Carolina COBRA - individuals and their families have the option to keep the exact same health insurance plan they had when they were employed if they meet certain prerequisites that are set forth in the laws. Most people find that they qualify for one of the two plans. In addition to these options, many people also opt to choose their own private insurance plan because they are much more affordable and can provide almost identical coverage.
Qualifying for North Carolina COBRA Insurance and Federal COBRA Coverage
The qualifying requirements for both plans are almost identical and most people in NC will find they qualify for one of the two plans. The first two requirements - qualifying event and qualifying beneficiary are the same for both plans. They include:
- Qualifying Beneficiary: The covered employee, their spouse, and their dependents are eligible to sign up for COBRA.
- Qualifying Event, Covered Employee: For the employee or their family to be eligible for COBRA the employee must have lost their job, quit their job, or retired from their job without any gross wrongdoing.
- Qualifying Event, Spouse or Dependent: For a spouse or dependent, they qualify for any of the reasons above and can also be eligible if the covered employee passes away, are eligible for Medicare. In addition, spouses qualify in the event of divorce and dependents qualify when they lose their dependent status.
The third requirement, qualifying plan, differs at the federal and state level. It is important to note here that you cannot qualify for both plans. If you are eligible for the federal plan, you cannot enroll in NC COBRA insurance.
- Qualifying Plan, Federal: The medical insurance plan must still be active and must cover at least 20 employees or their part time equivalents.
- Qualifying Plan, North Carolina COBRA: The health insurance plan must be active and must cover between 2-19 employees. You must have been on the plan for at least 3 months.
COBRA Insurance Cost and Length
The cost and coverage length are the same for federal and NC COBRA plans and is 18 months in most situations. Under some extenuating circumstances like disability or a second qualifying event, coverage may be extended an additional 18 months.
The cost of COBRA is also the same for both plans. To enroll in COBRA and maintain the same coverage you must pay 102% of the full premium. Full premium means you pay both what you paid while employed as well as what your employer paid. Most employers subsidize a major part of medical insurance costs, up to 90%, which means this amount will be much higher than what you are used to paying. In most cases it is at least double and normally much more. You can find out how much COBRA will cost on your enrollment form or you can calculate the amount yourself using your paystub.
More Affordable Health Insurance Options
For most people, COBRA from North Carolina or the federal government is just too much money. Luckily, many people find they can save over 65% when they choose a private insurance plan. These plans are more affordable because they only cover you (and your family) as opposed to everyone in a place of work and their varying healthcare needs. To learn what programs are available to you and how much money you can save, get a free quote below. There is no obligation to sign up. It is just the easiest way to view multiple plans at once and compare them to NC COBRA insurance and federal COBRA coverage.
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North Carolina Frequently Asked Questions
I just got a North Carolina COBRA election form in the mail. Does this work like normal COBRA?
Yes. NC COBRA works just like the normal COBRA insurance coverage except it is run by the state instead of the federal government. Under the NC COBRA law you can choose to continue to use the insurance you had while employer and your family members have the same option. Similarly it will last the same amount of time, 18 months, and also costs the same, 102% of the monthly premium.
How often can I go to the doctor on my COBRA insurance plan in NC?
It all depends on your health plan. COBRA is a continuation plan, which means that you keep the exact same insurance plan you had before the qualifying event. Therefore you can go to the doctor as many times as your prior plan allowed under the NC Mini COBRA plan.
How is NC COBRA insurance like Medicaid? Are they the same?
North Carolina COBRA actually isn't the same as Medicaid. Medicaid is a government sponsored health plan that is for people under certain income limits and also with certain disabilities. COBRA in North Carolina on the other hand is a law that allows people to maintain use of their prior health insurance plan after job loss or another qualifying event.
What will I have to pay annually to use North Carolina COBRA?
The cost of COBRA is normally over $12000 annually because you must pay 102% of the cost. The cost is made up of both what you are used to paying and also anything that your employer paid while you were working. Find out more about the cost of NC COBRA, which is calculated the same as national COBRA.
What options do I have if I missed the NC COBRA enrollment window?
Unfortunately in most circumstances once you miss the enrollment window, you no longer can use COBRA in North Carolina. You can contact your health insurance company to find out if they will make an exception but normally one will not be granted. For people who do miss the enrollment period, you can find similar coverage with a comprehensive private plan.