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The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires companies with 20 or more employees to continue offering group health benefits after employment has formally ended. Employees and their dependent family members may elect to continue group health coverage for 18 months following the last employed day (in special circumstances, 36 months), in the following situations:
You leave the job, either through voluntary or involuntary means.
Your work hours are reduced and insurance is no longer offered for your position.
You are covered under your spouse’s employer plan and your spouse dies or you get divorced and want to continue on that plan.
When you elect to continue your insurance enrollment under COBRA rules, you remain on the same health insurance coverage your former employer offers existing employees; however, you must pay the full cost of the premium for that coverage, plus a 2% administrative fee.
COBRA enrollment is time sensitive. You must sign up for COBRA within 60 days of your departure from work and pay monthly premiums dating back to the start of your COBRA coverage within 45 days of the date you elected coverage. Traditionally coverage will continue up to 18-36 months depending on the qualifying event. After your COBRA Coverage expires, your next step will be to a) choose a plan through the State Health Insurance Marketplace or b) determine if you are eligible for Medicaid or c) check on private insurers for options.
Stay on top of your COBRA payments. If you make a late payment, you risk losing your COBRA coverage.
You may be able to extend your COBRA coverage for an additional 11 months if the Social Security Administration determines you became disabled before your COBRA coverage began.
If you are eligible for Medicare, your COBRA benefits will end. However, your dependents will remain covered for the remainder of the term.
If you obtain new healthcare at a new job, you will no longer be covered through COBRA.
If you convert your COBRA coverage to an individual plan, your benefits will end.