Under COBRA many employees and their families who would lose their health insurance because of a job loss or other serious life event can keep it for a limited time. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive on COBRA:
I’m leaving my job. Will I qualify for COBRA? You must meet two basic requirements to be entitled to elect COBRA continuation coverage: (1) Your group health plan must be subject to COBRA. A group health plan is generally subject to COBRA if they have more than 20 full-time employees, and (2) You must be a qualified beneficiary for COBRA. A qualified beneficiary is an employee or dependent who is covered on the health plan on the day before their job termination. If your employer has less than 20 employees, you may be eligible for the small group version of COBRA called State Continuation.
I’ve heard COBRA can be really expensive. Should I take it? COBRA allows you to stay on your employer-based coverage after employment termination. The COBRA premium is the full amount of the insurance. Employers subsidize the cost of the insurance for employees but when you enroll on COBRA you are responsible for the full cost. It may be in your best interest to explore other healthcare coverage options. These include purchasing insurance through the Marketplace, finding coverage through a spouse’s employer, or researching government programs like Medicaid. Also consider your deductible accumulation on your employer’s plan. Many people who have already met their deductible opt to take COBRA for the rest of the year. If you do choose to sign up for COBRA, you have the option to enroll in the Marketplace during the Open Enrollment period that occurs at the end of the year.
Can I cover my dependents with COBRA? You can cover your dependents on COBRA if they were previously covered under your employer-based health insurance plan (see qualified beneficiary above). Each qualified beneficiary has the independent right to elect COBRA continuation based upon their needs.
When does my COBRA coverage begin? If your coverage as an employee ended on May 31, your COBRA coverage will begin on June 1. COBRA coverage begins on the day immediately following your coverage termination as an employee. There is no gap in coverage when electing COBRA, even if you wait until the end of the 60-day election period to enroll.
How long can I be on COBRA? If you are COBRA-eligible due to a job loss or a reduction in work hours, you can keep the coverage for up to 18 months. If you are COBRA-eligible due to a divorce, legal separation or death of the employee, then the coverage can last for up to 36 months. Medicare Eligibility can also affect the duration of COBRA.
The team at ComPro can answer any additional questions you may have about COBRA. They are your trusted and local resource for health insurance! Including Employee Benefits, Individual & Family Benefits and Medicare. To make an appointment with one of their licensed insurance agents, call (402) 488-5100. For more info, visit www.comproins.com.
By Kayla Northup – Location Manager, MGA, Agent