You may qualify to keep your health coverage with COBRA.
If you’ve lost your job or had your hours reduced, there are options available to workers and their families to maintain health coverage, including the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA. It provides a way for workers and their families to temporarily maintain their employer-provided health insurance during situations such as job loss or a reduction in hours worked.
COBRA health coverage offers a number of benefits:
Continuity in Coverage
Generally, your coverage under COBRA will be the same coverage you had while you were an employee. This is helpful if you would like to continue to see your same doctors and receive the same health plan benefits.
Coverage for Dependents
Your dependents (i.e., spouse, former spouse or children) are also eligible for COBRA coverage, even if you (the former employee) do not sign up for COBRA coverage.
Avoiding a Lapse in Coverage
COBRA can help those who need health coverage during the time between losing job-based coverage and beginning other health coverage.
Generous Time to Enroll
You have 60 days to enroll in COBRA once your employer-sponsored benefits end. Even if your enrollment is delayed, you will be covered by COBRA starting the day your prior coverage ended. You will received a notice from your employer with information about deadlines for enrollment.
Long-Term Coverage is Available
While COBRA is temporary, in most circumstances, you can stay on COBRA for 18 to 36 months. This coverage period provides flexibility to find other health insurance options.
However, the plan may require you to pay the entire group rate premium out of pocket plus a 2% administrative fee, so cost is an important consideration when exploring COBRA as a health coverage option.