How COBRA Insurance in Pennsylvania Can Help You
What is COBRA?
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a health insurance program that allows eligible employees and their dependents to continue their health insurance benefits under certain circumstances. These circumstances include loss of employment or a reduction in work hours, making them ineligible for health coverage through their employer. COBRA allows for the continuation of coverage as long as they pay the premiums on their own.
COBRA for Pennsylvania Residents – COBRA Insurance PA
Pennsylvania law requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer employees group health insurance coverage. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees might offer health insurance to their employees but aren’t required to do so by state law. Federal COBRA laws apply to businesses with 20 or more employees who offer group health insurance plans to employees and their families. Pennsylvania has its own laws that apply to employers who aren’t impacted by the federal COBRA laws.
Pennsylvania Laws for COBRA Insurance
Many states have their local laws that apply to COBRA and such is true in Pennsylvania. Small businesses must adhere to the Mini-COBRA regulations that apply to COBRA Health Insurance in Pennsylvania. It gives employees of small businesses ranging from 2 to 19 employees the right to purchase health insurance from their former employer for up to nine months after their employment ends. It is only for nine months and cannot be extended any longer.
This only applies to those small businesses that offer health insurance to their employees. Since businesses with fewer than 50 employees aren’t required to offer group health insurance in Pennsylvania, your employer may not offer the coverage. COBRA health insurance laws in PA add Mini-COBRA options, but do not make any changes or adjustments to the rest of the federal legislation. It doesn’t extend the amount of time you can maintain coverage if you work for an employer who has 20 or more employees and falls under the federal laws for extending your group health insurance coverage after losing it.
COBRA Insurance Costs in Pennsylvania
When you work for an employer who has 20 or more employees and who offers group health insurance, as required by federal law, your employer pays a portion of the cost of the employee plan. When you are no longer an employee there, or if you lose your coverage for some reason, such as reduced hours, then you can purchase COBRA coverage. That means you will pay your regular cost plus the amount your employer had been paying for your coverage.
In Pennsylvania, your employer is permitted to charge a two percent administrative fee to cover the costs of bookkeeping so you can maintain your coverage, therefore you might be responsible for up to 102% of the cost to maintain COBRA health insurance in Pennsylvania.
Deciding if COBRA Health Insurance Pennsylvania is Your Best Option
If you are losing your employer-sponsored group health insurance coverage, COBRA Health Insurance in Pennsylvania might be the best option for your medical insurance coverage, as it allows you to keep the same coverage you are familiar with.
You will, however, be paying more for the coverage than you did through your employer because you must pay your employer’s share of the cost as well. However, even with the additional cost, you will still likely pay less for your coverage than you would for comparable coverage with an individual insurance policy.
The Dangers of Being Uninsured
Failure to maintain proper health insurance coverage can lead to financial ruin. Facing one medical emergency without the coverage you need can be devastating, so make sure you maintain the appropriate coverage. Going without health insurance for even a short time can be risky and dangerous. While COBRA coverage does cost more, it is more affordable than hospital bills after a medical emergency without insurance.
Accidents and unexpected medical conditions can happen to anyone. Being diagnosed with a health condition while not having insurance can make it difficult to obtain health coverage because you’ll have a preexisting condition. Even if an insurance company is mandated to accept pre existing conditions it could mean an increased premium or reduced coverage for that condition. Accepting your COBRA option can help with the continuation of coverage when you sign up for your next insurance policy, whether it be through another employer or on the open market.
What if my company closed or went bankrupt? Am I still eligible for COBRA?
According to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, “If there is no longer a health plan, there is no COBRA coverage available. If, however, there is another plan offered by the company, you may be covered under that plan. Union members who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement that provides for a medical plan also may be entitled to continued coverage.”