A suitable healthcare policy for you and your entire family leads to a lifelong protection against financial woes. It becomes imperative to assess your family's needs along with your budget before deciding the type of policy and the various healthcare services provided by it. If you are a resident of Alabama, you have plenty of alternatives to choose from. We provide insurance quotes on all states and zip codes. The Alabama Department of Insurance regulates laws under which the Alabama health insurers can provide private-market coverage to the individuals and families.
Group coverage under the Alabama state law is guaranteed issue for small groups of 2 to 50. Therefore, if you are a qualified employee and offered insurance through your employer, the insurance company may not refuse you coverage, regardless of your health status. Your employer may request a waiting period from your date of hire before you are qualified to join the group health plan. This waiting period must be the same for all employees working for that company. To be defined as a "group", at least two employees must work for at least 6 months out of the year, and work 20 hours per week. If the individual applicant is uninsured for previous one to six months, a waiting period for coverage of pre-existing conditions may apply. In Alabama, all policyholders in group health plans are protected under the federal law HIPAA. Insurance companies may place an exclusion on pre-existing medical conditions for a specific period of time but they must give credit toward prior insurance toward this waiting period if that coverage was continuous without a lapse of more than 63 days. The insurers can look back in your previous medical history and impose a 12-month exclusion period for those pre-existing conditions that did not have prior medical coverage. However, the group plans are not permitted to apply a pre-existing exclusion period for newly adopted children, pregnancy, newborns or children placed for adoption. The Family Medical Leave Act applies to companies with more than 50 employees and protects your insurance coverage under the group plan for 12 weeks. Rates may differ by plus or minus 20 percent of the indexed rate based on the health status of the group.
While most states have a "mini-COBRA" provision that extends COBRA benefits to employees who worked for companies with less than 20 employees, Alabama does not have a state mini-COBRA regulation. However, employers with more than 20 employees must recognize federal COBRA laws. To be eligible for COBRA coverage, you must have been enrolled in your employer's health coverage plan when you worked and the health plan must continue to be in effect for active employees. COBRA continuation is offered upon the happening of a qualifying event such as job loss, reduction in hours worked, death, or divorce. You may remain on your previous employers group health plan and receive the same level of coverage for a period of 18 months. However, you will be responsible for paying the premium amount that was previously paid by your employer, plus a 2% administration fee. If the insurance company chooses to raise the premium on your employer's group plan, you will also be subject to those higher rates. Once you exhaust your COBRA option, and you are not eligible for individual coverage, you may qualify for coverage under the Alabama Plan.