How does it work?
If you lose benefit eligibility either by employment termination, retirement, reduction in hours, or any other COBRA qualifying event, you become entitled to a continuation of your benefit through COBRA. Within 45 days after your loss of coverage, you’ll receive a notice outlining your rights to COBRA continuation and your COBRA election notice allowing you to select the coverage(s) that you’d like to continue. Your COBRA election notice will include all of the dates, deadlines, and rules for making an election. Using that information, you’re able to make an election online or submit your election using the paper form included.
Who is eligible to continue coverage through COBRA?
Employees, covered spouses or covered children all have rights to continue coverage under the COBRA continuation coverage rules. Each individual in your family is considered a qualified beneficiary. A qualified beneficiary is any individual who has experienced a loss in coverage and has an independent right to elect COBRA continuation coverage. This means that they can pick and choose between the available COBRA plans or decline COBRA continuation coverage in its entirety.
How long can my coverage last?
If you elect for COBRA continuation, the maximum amount of time that you can remain covered varies depending on the Qualifying Event. The standard length of coverage for most individuals is 18 months. Some states have longer lengths of coverage and each employer’s plan may provide longer periods of coverage beyond this range. Your specific coverage time-frame will be outlined in your specific rights notice.
How do I make payments?
If you are choosing to elect COBRA coverage, you will receive payment coupons to submit with a check to pay for your COBRA premiums each month. Payments can also be made online for an additional fee. You can also make payments through ACH direct debit.
When can I make changes to my coverage?
You can only make changes to your COBRA coverage during your insurance plans open enrollment period or with a qualifying event. However, if you would like to cancel your COBRA coverage, you can do so at any time. Once you’ve cancelled your COBRA coverage, you cannot reinstate that coverage.
What are COBRA qualifying events?
Qualifying events are events that cause an individual to lose their benefit coverage. The type of qualifying event will determine who the qualified beneficiaries are and the amount of time that a plan must offer the health coverage to them under COBRA. A plan, at its discretion, may provide longer periods of continuation coverage.
Qualifying Events for Employees include:
- Voluntary or involuntary termination of employment for reasons other than gross misconduct
- Reduction in hours of employment
Qualifying Events for Spouses and Dependent Children include:
- Voluntary or involuntary termination of the covered employee’s employment for any reason other than gross misconduct
- Reduction in hours worked by the covered employee
- Covered employees becoming entitled to Medicare
- Divorce or legal separation from the covered employee
- Death of the covered employee
- Loss of dependent child status under the plan rules (Dependent Children Only)