Losing your job and the dental benefits that come with it is a stressful event. Whether you were terminated, you were laid off or you are leaving voluntarily, you still have to deal with significant financial issues that come with income insecurity. Don’t panic though, because here are some dental insurance coverage options you’ll want to know about in case you’re unexpectedly thrust into an unemployment situation.
As soon as you’ve lost your job, check your current insurance benefits. Find out when your benefits get cut off. You may discover that your dental and health coverage continues through the end of the month. If that’s the case, make a dentist appointment for preventive care while you still can, as every week of extra coverage matters.
COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. It’s a way to continue to get health or dental insurance from your former employer. COBRA may also be available in the case of certain life events or loss of job scenarios including labor disputes, lockouts, reduction in hours, divorce or legal separation from the covered employee. Qualifying events such as unemployment mean you are eligible for COBRA. You don't have to wait for the annual open enrollment period. A special enrollment period for COBRA is intended to give you an extra option that could help ease the transition of a major life event.
COBRA requires that most employers with group health plans offer a temporary extension of their coverage called "continuation coverage". This type of COBRA coverage is able to extend to you and your dependents. If the insurance provided by your employer includes vision and dental, COBRA continuation of benefits will cover both. That’s the upside of the program.
The downside of COBRA is that under the current program, you as the former employee are now fully responsible for premiums - which can be quite costly. However, premiums cannot exceed the full cost of your coverage.
Does dental insurance fall under COBRA?
Yes. COBRA is a program that applies to dental, health and vision benefits. However, you will only be able to continue using the benefit plans that you enrolled in when you were still employed. If you did not enroll in dental benefits during your employment, you will not be able to get them from your employer post-termination.
Can you get COBRA for dental only?
It depends. If your dental plan and health insurance plan are bundled under the same insurance company, you may not be able to continue with dental alone. Note: Delta Dental does not offer health coverage.
How long does dental under COBRA last?
COBRA dental coverage typically lasts 18 months from the date that you choose your coverage.
How do I apply for dental coverage with COBRA?
Apply for dental through COBRA by visiting healthcare.gov. Here, you can also find out whether or not you qualify for Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or a lower cost plan from COBRA.
If you’re in a pinch and need dental services right away, you can sign up for coverage online with Delta Dental and see your dentist immediately. We offer affordable dental coverage via six unique plans including options with no waiting period. This means you can focus on the important things like finding a new job instead of worrying about your dental coverage and dental care.
The Washington Health Benefits Exchange is a key part of the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act creates a marketplace for each state to offer health and dental coverage to individuals and families. It’s an easily accessible, online marketplace where you can find, compare, and enroll in Qualified Health and Dental Plans. You can also get information on tax credits or financial aid to help cover your co-pays and premiums. And because losing your job is often considered a qualifying life event, you don’t have to worry about the annual open enrollment period; you can enroll right away. Visit WAHBExchange.org or call 1-855-923-4633 to learn more.