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Rhode Island COBRA Insurance
Have you learned that you don't qualify for COBRA under the federal government law? Hope is not lost. You may qualify under the Rhode Island COBRA insurance law. Analogous to the federal law, Rhode Island passed its own law to extend COBRA continuation insurance to more people in their state. Specifically this coverage opens up the COBRA option to people who work at smaller workplaces and permits them to extend their coverage on the same health insurance plan their employer uses after job loss. This job loss can be from being laid off (involuntary) or from quitting and retiring (voluntary). Under the RI COBRA law, people maintain the exact same plan for a limited time period and at full cost.
Qualifying for Rhode Island COBRA Health Insurance
The RI state law is written much like the national government law and creates three categories of qualifications that someone must fulfill to be able to enroll in COBRA. They are commonly called qualifying plan, qualifying event, and qualifying beneficiary. The first discusses the plan you had when you were working. It must have no more than 19 employees on it and still be active. You also must have been enrolled in the plan for 3 months. Secondly, qualifying event, outlines the ways in which you can qualify based on job loss. Any job loss, whether voluntary and involuntary will qualify as long as there isn't serious misconduct. Finally, qualifying beneficiary just dictates whom can enroll and covers the employee, their children/dependents, and their spouse.
Calculating the Cost of Rhode Island COBRA Coverage
If you decide you may want to enroll in RI COBRA, it is important to understand the costs. To calculate your COBRA cost you must know how much you paid for insurance and how much your company paid for your insurance. Then add those numbers together to calculate your monthly premium. COBRA will cost that monthly premium plus an additional two percent admin surcharge.
Determining the Length of RI COBRA
Your continuation insurance under COBRA will last 18 months in the state of Rhode Island. The coverage starts from the day your insurance would have stopped if you hadn't signed up for COBRA. It is also retroactive to that day even if you sign up later in the enrollment window. Under the current laws, you will have sixty days to sign up for COBRA from the date on your election notice.
Termination of COBRA Insurance
In order to maintain your coverage, you must pay your premium monthly. If you do not do this, your insurance plan with RI COBRA will be cancelled. Additionally if for any reason your former company stops offering their health insurance plan, your coverage will also be ended.
Additional Rhode Island Health Insurance Options
In addition to COBRA, there are many other health care options in Rhode Island that can offer a less expensive and longer-term solution. To learn about these plans, you can get a free quote below that provides a long list of plans in your area. The plans that mostly closely resemble employer plans will be private individual and family plans. For very low cost plans, look at short-term, high deductible, and emergency medical plans.
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Rhode Island Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use Rhode Island COBRA coverage if I just started a new job?
If you weren't on the health plan for 3 months or more in Rhode Island than you will not be eligible for coverage under the state plan. The law was written that way to protect employers from employers starting positions just to take advantage of the COBRA benefits.
Am I able to use RI COBRA insurance if I quit my job?
Assuming that you have a qualifying plan and are a qualifying beneficiary as described above, then you can use COBRA in Rhode Island if you quit your job. The law is not limited to people who are laid off but instead covers a myriad of situations that could cause someone to lose their health insurance. Wit that said it is always smart to check with your employer before quitting if health insurance is a major concern.
What happens to my Rhode Island COBRA if my company closes?
If your company closes and stops offering health insurance, which is normally the case when a company closes its doors, then your Rhode Island COBRA plan will also be cancelled. However in some rare instances companies continue their health plans for a certain amount of time after shutting down to give employees time to find a new plan. If your company does this, then you can continue the plan with COBRA.
I am not going to be able to pay my premium this month, what happens to my COBRA in RI?
Anytime that you know you will not be able to pay the COBRA premium, it is always wise to contact the insurance company and let them know ahead of time. Make sure to tell them if you can make a partial payment or when they can expect a payment. The company has a right to terminate your coverage when you miss a payment but they may give you a grace period if you contact them ahead of time.
My spouse worked in Rhode Island and just retired and signed up for Medicare, can I enroll in COBRA?
When a spouse retired or qualified for Medicare this is considered a qualifying event under the COBRA laws and entitles the spouses and any dependents to COBRA continuation for up to 36 months. Depending on the type of plan your spouse has will determine if you use the Rhode Island COBRA coverage or the federal plan. You must notify the health insurance plan of this change so they can send you an election form.