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South Carolina COBRA Insurance
For people in South Carolina who have realized that they don't qualify for federal COBRA insurance, there is actually a state program known as South Carolina COBRA insurance. This program is essentially a continuation of the federal program to open coverage to people at companies with fewer employees.
The state set up this program because they wanted to be certain that more folks in their home state could choose to continue to use their employer sponsored health insurance plan after job loss, while they sought out new insurance. The program, which mirrors the federal plan, is meant to be a temporary solution and unfortunately comes at a very high cost for most who just lost their income. However, as you will read, there are alternatives you can consider as well.
South Carolina COBRA Coverage
If you qualify for SC COBRA, the coverage you have will be the same as if you were still employed. COBRA is a law, not a medical insurance policy, and it lets you keep your employer plan after you lose your job. Everything about your plan will stay the same. To be able to enroll in COBRA and continue your old plan, you must have a qualifying plan, be a qualified beneficiary, and have lost your insurance due to a qualifying event.
A qualifying plan in SC will be any plan that covers 19 employees or less. It must still be in existence and you must have been on it for 3 months. A qualified beneficiary is the employee themselves, the dependents, and the spouse. They all may sign up for COBRA in SC. Finally a qualifying event for the employee is job loss through quitting, losing your job, or retirement. There cannot be presence of substantial misconduct. For family members there are additional events including death, divorce, and outgrowing the maximum insurance policy age.
Cost Of COBRA and Term Length
In SC, the cost of COBRA is 102% of the premium every month. The premium is the amount that you paid and that your employer paid. This adds up to over $1000 monthly for a typical family and over $400 for a typical single person. In the state, the coverage can last six months at most.
Cancellation of COBRA Coverage
Your coverage may be cancelled in the state if you either fail to pay your premiums on time and in full, or if your prior company stops offering health insurance. Otherwise the insurance will be cancelled at the end of six months.
Health Insurance Plans Beyond COBRA
If your COBRA coverage is coming to an end or you simply wanted a longer term and less expensive policy, then you should consider looking at private health insurance plans. These plans offer many benefits and can be identical to employer plans. They are usually less expensive, with a cost savings of as much as 65%, and can last as long as you want. To learn more about what options are out there for you, use the quote box below which will provide many options for health insurance in your area.
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South Carolina Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a Mini COBRA plan in South Carolina I can use if I am ineligible for the federal option?
Yes. The state government in South Carolina passed legislation known as Mini COBRA for people who were not eligible for COBRA because there workplace was too small. However if you are ineligible for another reason that doesn't have to do with qualifying plan then you unfortunately will not be eligible in SC either because all other provisions are the same.
What options do I have for my children if I can't afford SC COBRA insurance?
There are two options for children in South Carolina who need health insurance. The first is Medicaid, which is available to children and families living below a certain income limit. Additionally there is a program specifically for children called Healthy Connections that provides either reduced cost health insurance or free health insurance to kids under 18 years old.
How long can my family and I use South Carolina Mini COBRA insurance?
At the end of six months the South Carolina Mini COBRA plan will end and you will have to find alternate insurance. Due to this relatively short time period many people who are not confident they will find a job within 6 months with insurance, opt to sign up for a private insurance plan right away and bypass the frustration of switching plans in the future.
I was just laid off from my job but only worked there for 2 months can I use SC COBRA?
In order to enroll in SC COBRA you must have been on the health plan at your workplace for at least 3 months. That means in your case you will not be able to use COBRA benefits.
Are there any disadvantages to enrolling in COBRA health insurance in South Carolina?
There are two main disadvantages to South Carolina COBRA coverage. The first is the high cost. COBRA costs 102% of the premium and you must pay the entire thing without any employer subsidy. For many people this is simply out of reach. The second drawback is that it only lasts for 6 months, which for many is not enough time to find a new job with coverage