Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events. Qualified individuals may be required to pay the entire premium for coverage up to 102 percent of the cost to the plan.
COBRA generally requires that group health plans sponsored by employers with 20 or more employees in the prior year offer employees and their families the opportunity for a temporary extension of health coverage (called continuation coverage) in certain instances where coverage under the plan would otherwise end. COBRA outlines how employees and family members may elect continuation coverage. It also requires employers and plans to provide notice.
National Toll-Free Contact Center. Live assistance is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time by calling, 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365), TTY: 1-877-889-5627 http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/cobra.htm
Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
The website offers a great deal of valuable information in both English and Spanish. EBSA is an agency whose mission is to protect the integrity of pensions, health plans, and other employee benefits for people. Toll-free hotline: 1-866-444-3272. www.dol.gov/ebsa
HealthCare.gov is a new consumer web site that provides transparency into the health care marketplace. Through HealthCare.gov, individuals will have more control over their health care as informed and empowered consumers. The easy to use website provides one stop shopping access to a wealth of information, including new consumer rights and benefits under the Affordable Care Act, a timeline of when new programs under the new law will come online and a new insurance finder that makes it easy to find both private and public health insurance options. http://www.healthcare.gov/
Insurance - "A Consumer's Guide to Getting and Keeping Health Insurance in Minnesota"
Written in January 2006 by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, this 36 page guide describes your protections as a Minnesota resident when you seek to buy, keep or switch your health insurance, even if you or a family member has a serious health condition. It describes your protections under group health plans, individual health insurance and as a small employer or self-employed person. There is a 3-page summary of numerous state and federal laws (including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA) and a chapter on Financial Assistance for Minnesota residents who cannot afford to buy health insurance. http://healthinsuranceinfo.net/
Minnesota Disability Health Options (MnDHO)
This is a program for people with physical disabilities who are eligible for Medical Assistance (MA) or Medicare. This program is there for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People with physical disabilities can choose to join MnDHO or stay in their current MA program. There is no additional cost to join MnDHO. To be eligible for MN DHO you must: 1) be between 18 and 65 years old; 2) have a physical disability; 3) be eligible for MA (including MA for Employed Persons with Disabilities) or both MA and Medicare; and 4) live in one of the following counties: Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Dakota, Carver, Scott, or Washington. The program is administered by DHS along with UCare Complete (a health plan) and AXIS Healthcare (a care management organization for people with physical disabilities). AXIS Healthcare is a partnership between Sister Kenny Institute and theCourageCenter. The health plan assigns a health care coordinator to each enrollee to help with paperwork and getting health care and support services. MnDHO offers all MA and Medicare services (if you also have Medicare). The health plan also may offer services that are normally not covered by MA or Medicare, such as modifications to the home or vehicle, extended personal care attendant services, and others. To enroll in MnDHO, contact UCare Complete at 612-676-6500 or 866-457-7144. You can also contact your county Department of Human Services (only in one of the seven counties listed above). www.dhs.state.mn.us