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Virginia COBRA Insurance
Losing a job isn't easy for anyone, but for people who lose their jobs and realize they don't qualify for COBRA insurance from the federal government; this time can be even scarier. Luckily, the state of Virginia set up its own Mini COBRA plan to help residents in this situation. They wanted to make sure that more people were able to opt into this type of coverage so that they didn't have to go without health insurance. Additionally, they wanted to make sure that residents didn't have a lapse in insurance coverage that consequently made it more difficult to qualify for another plan in the future.
How Virginia COBRA Works
Virginia COBRA works just like any other COBRA plan. It lets people who qualify continue to use the plan they had with their employer for a limited amount of time at full cost if they qualify and decide to enroll in the coverage. In simple terms, this means that if you use COBRA, nothing about your coverage changes for you and your family. It is as if you were still working and still on the plan.
To qualify for this option, you must meet four different conditions at the state level.
The first is that you do not qualify for federal COBRA. The Virginia COBRA plan is only for people without that option. Secondly, you must have been on a health insurance plan that covered between 2-19 employees. Additionally, you must have either quit, retired, or lost your job without any serious offenses or misconduct. Lastly, you can use COBRA coverage in Virginia if you are the employee, their spouse, or a dependent/child.
The cost of the Virginia COBRA insurance plan is vey expensive.
First of all you must pay the entire premium, both what you paid for medical insurance and anything your employer paid (usually up to 90% of the cost.) Then in addition there is a 2% administration fee. You can find this total cost for your whole family and each person on the COBRA election form or by contacting the insurance provider.
COBRA coverage in Virginia lasts only 90 days or 3 months.
It is very short-term coverage and only meant to fill in while you seek alternate coverage through another job or a private plan. Because the time period is so short, most people are better off just choosing a private plan from the start unless that already have a new job with coverage lined up.
Other Options for Health Coverage in Virginia
With COBRA coverage only lasting 90 days and normally costing over $1000 for a family of four, most people opt to find a private plan for themselves and/or family members. For healthy individuals and families, the best plans are usually individuals and family plans through private companies. You can find plans that offer comprehensive coverage at a great savings when compared to COBRA. For people with preexisting conditions, PCIP insurance is usually the best option for long-term coverage. Finally for people who want inexpensive, minimal coverage, high deductible plans and catastrophic plans offer the best option. No matter what type of plan you want, getting an insurance quote is the best way to start to understand the market and compare prices. You can get a free quote below in just a couple of minutes and will be able to quickly access hundreds of available plans.
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Virginia Frequently Asked Questions
Since Virginia COBRA insurance only lasts 90 days, what options do I have when it ends?
It depends on your situation. For people who have found work, you may be able to sign up for an insurance plan with your new workplace. If your have not found new coverage through employment, then you likely want to explore plans from private companies. Finally if your household income is at or near the federal poverty line, you may qualify for a program through the Department of Medical Assistance Services.
Is there a subsidy available for Virginia Continuation Insurance?
Currently there is no COBRA subsidy available in Virginia or any other state. The subsidy for COBRA insurance ended in 2010 and there no longer is governmental assistance with the cost of continuing your coverage.
What company will provide my Virginia Mini COBRA?
Whatever company you had insurance with while you were working will continue to be the company that provides your insurance. COBRA is a state and federal law, not a new insurance plant that gives you a way to continue the exact same plan.
Can I combine the COBRA coverage from the federal level and from Virginia?
Unfortunately that is not an option in Virginia. You will only qualify for one type of coverage depending on the qualifying plan requirement and you cannot combine the two types of COBRA or use one after one runs out.
Where do I apply for an extension of my Virginia COBRA benefits?
There is no extension for COBRA coverage in Virginia after the 3 months runs out. Additionally it is wise to already have your new insurance plan in place before the 90 days is over so that you do not have a lapse in coverage that disqualifies you from future plans.