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Health Insurance Options
Wisconsin COBRA Insurance
Knowing what health insurance options exist when you lose your job is hard. Not only is there COBRA, but there is Wisconsin COBRA, private health plans, and sometimes even government plans available. Additionally there is the added stress of job loss and the insecurity of the future. All of this adds up to a complicated situation where it can be hard to make decisions and know what is best.
We're here to help. Understanding the main options you have for health insurance, as well as their costs and coverage options, will help you to determine what is right for you and your family. That way you can make sure you have health insurance coverage that is right for you and protects you.
Federal COBRA Medical Insurance
When someone loses their job, or even quits or retires from their job, the first place they normally look for health insurance is through COBRA, a law passed in 1986, that allows people to continue to use the plan they had while employed for up to 18 months after job loss. With COBRA, everything stays exactly the same about your plan in terms of coverage.
To be able to use COBRA through the federal government you must meet three conditions in the law. First, the covered employee's plan must cover at least 20 employees and still be active and in use. Secondly, job loss must not be a result of gross misconduct. The covered employee can be let go, quit or retire but they will not qualify if serious offenses led to the job loss. Finally, to use COBRA you must be the employee, their spouse, or a dependent. Additionally, people can qualify for COBRA after death of the employee, divorce from the employee, Medicare qualification of the employee, or loss of dependent status.
If you meet these conditions, you can use COBRA coverage (i.e. your former employer's plan) for up to 18 months in most cases. Additionally you must pay the entire premium, both what you paid and what your employer paid, monthly to maintain insurance.
Wisconsin COBRA Insurance
What is you don't qualify for federal COBRA? Luckily in Wisconsin you may still have a COBRA option. The state created a Wisconsin COBRA insurance plan for people who work at companies with between 2-19 employees. This way those people can also continue to use their employer plan. The cost and coverage length are the same as the federal plan.
Private and Individual Family Plans
For people who don't qualify for COBRA or who are looking to save money, a private plan is probably the right option. These plans offer full coverage but come at a savings of as much as 65% for people who are reasonably healthy. The plans are much more affordable because they are customized to your health situation, rather than covering people who varying health needs in a company. You can find full coverage plans that will look just like employer plans. To learn more about these plans, get a quote below.
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Wisconsin Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of the Wisconsin Mini COBRA insurance plan, also known as Wisconsin continuation and conversion?
The purpose of the law is to protect people from suddenly being without health insurance and in danger of not getting the health care they need. It is also a way for the state to offer more benefits to people who do not qualify for federal coverage.
Is it possible to only sign up one of my children for Wisconsin COBRA and put the rest of the family on another plan?
Yes, and it is a great way to save money. You can decide which family members stay on COBRA and which use a different plan based on health needs and budget.
Who has continuation and conversion rights in Wisconsin?
The Wisconsin state law gives the following people who have been continuously covered under a group health insurance policy for at three months or more the right to continue the group coverage or to convert to an individual policy providing similar benefits - A former spouse whose coverage ends because of divorce or annulment, an employee who voluntarily or involuntarily loses eligibility for coverage other than discharge for misconduct, and a covered spouse and/or dependents of an employee who has died.
May I continue coverage under my former employer's insurance plan even if I go to work for a different employer?
Yes, but only if the new employer's coverage is not similar to your former employer's coverage. Coverage is not "similar" if you are subject to any preexisting condition waiting period, or if the new employer's coverage provides substantially different benefits, or is more costly.
Who is responsible for notifying me of my right to continuation or conversion coverage?
The employer is required to provide you written notice of your right to continue group coverage or convert to an individual policy and the premiums required for each, including the manner, place, and time in which the payments must be made, within 5 days of your loss of group coverage. You then have 30 days to decide if you will enroll.