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COBRA versus Florida "Mini-COBRA"

COBRA

If you are covered under a group health insurance plan and your employer has 20 or more full-time employees, then your right to continue group coverage is governed under a Federal Law known as COBRA ("Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act").

If you are losing your coverage due to certain "qualified events," then your rights under COBRA apply. Your employer should provide you with information regarding your Federal COBRA continuation rights.

Some examples of "qualified events" include loss of employment (not due to fraud or other crime), divorce, reduced work hours resulting in part-time status, or loss of dependent status due to age.

Note: this law does not apply to plans sponsored by the Federal Government or by churches and certain church-related organizations.

Florida "Mini-COBRA"

The Florida Health Insurance Coverage Continuation Act (FHICCA), or the Florida Mini-COBRA law, became effective January 1, 1997. This law entitles employees to continuation of coverage, much like the federal COBRA law, except it is for employees of groups with 2 to 19 full-time employees.

If you have any questions about your rights under Florida Mini-COBRA, you should contact the group health insurance administrator (not your employer, as under Federal COBRA).

Highlights of the Mini-COBRA law include:

  1. An employee, and his/her dependents are eligible for a continuation of coverage of up to 18 months. If an employee is totally disabled, then coverage may be for up to 29 months.

  2. The insurance company or HMO is responsible for the administration of the continuance of coverage rather than the employer. You send your premiums directly to the insurance company.

  3. Premiums paid for continuation of coverage may not exceed 115% of the group rate, and no more than 150% of the group rate during the 11 month disability extension.

  4. An eligible employee must give written notice to the insurance company or HMO within 30 days after the occurrence of the qualified event, as opposed to 60 days under the federal COBRA law.

Very Important Points for You to Remember:

It is your responsibility to notify (not your employer's) the insurance company - within 30 days - if you wish to maintain your rights under Florida Mini-COBRA.

Reference: Mini-COBRA was created under Florida Statute 627.6692

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