HomePopularHow Long Can I Get Cobra Health Insurance

How Long Can I Get Cobra Health Insurance

More Answers: If You Lose Job

Understanding COBRA Health Insurance
Can a Marketplace plan start the same day I lose my job-based insurance?

No. Marketplace plans take effect the first day of the month after your job-based insurance ends. So if you lose your insurance plan on March 7 and select a Marketplace plan by March 31, coverage can start April 1.

Do I need to provide proof that I lost insurance through my job?

You may be asked to provide proof that you lost insurance through your job. Your eligibility notice will explain how to verify your loss of coverage. The Marketplace may also contact you directly.

When I apply for a Marketplace plan after losing job-based insurance, does the income I made this year before I left my job count?

Yes. Savings on a Marketplace plan are based on your estimate of income for everyone in your tax household for the full calendar year you want coverage. Learn how to estimate your yearly income.

What if I lost my job-based insurance and Im now eligible to enroll in a spouses plan? Can I buy a Marketplace plan instead?

Yes. But if youre offered coverage through your spouses job, you arent eligible for premium tax credits or other savings on a Marketplace plan even if you dont accept the offer.

The only exception is if your spouses plan doesnt meet certain standards for affordability or coverage. Most plans meet these standards, even if they charge high premiums for spouse and dependent coverage.

Cobra Will Not Be Identical To Your Previous Employer Health Insurance

In a typical employer health insurance arrangement, the employer usually covers a portion of the employees health insurance premium payment.

Although COBRA allows you to continue receiving the same employee benefits that you did while you were employed, the key difference is that when you receive health insurance through COBRA, you are required to pay the full premium. Your employer does not help out by covering a portion of it like they might have before. This requirement generally leads to COBRA health insurance being significantly more expensive than a traditional employer plan.

How Long Does Health Insurance Last After Termination

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, tens of millions of employees get fired or leave their jobs voluntarily every single month. In other words, if you find yourself currently in between jobs, youre certainly not alone! While you look for new employment, understanding how to prevent gaps in healthcare coverage will help you maintain regular checkups, continue monitoring your health, and prevent unexpected worst-case-scenario emergencies from turning into long-term health and financial problems.

This page will cover the key things you need to understand regarding your employer-sponsored health insurance if you recently got fired from or quit your job, including the COBRA Act, differences between federal law and state law, stipulations for spouses and dependents, and more.

This article will discuss:

  • What Happens to Your Health Insurance After You Leave Your Job?
  • Understanding COBRA
  • COBRA Plan Health Insurance Technicalities
  • Other Healthcare Options After Termination Besides COBRA
  • Transitioning From Unemployment to a New Employers Healthcare Plan

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Who Qualifies For The Subsidy

You’ll be eligible if you involuntarily left a job that offered health insurance and you do not qualify for another employer plan or Medicare, Donovan said.

“You would even qualify if you turned down COBRA before,” Donovan said.

Any family members on your plan would also be fully covered. If you still have your job, but your hours have been cut to the point where you lost access to your company’s health insurance plan, you may also qualify for the six-month subsidy.

You should receive written notification of your eligibility, likely from your employer or health insurance company. If you haven’t heard anything, reach out to your former insurer.

Age 29 Dependent Coverage Extension

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Chapter 240 of the Laws of 2009 extends the availability of health insurance coverage to young adults through the age of 29. The expansion is designed to assist young adults who do not have access to employer-sponsored health insurance. This law is sometimes referred to as the Age 29 law, because it permits young adults to continue or obtain coverage under a parents policy through the age of 29. The law provides two distinct ways in which coverage may be extended: a young adult option and a make available option.

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Do I Have A Qualifying Event

What qualifies as a life event depends on whether youre the employee losing coverage, or a spouse or dependent of that employee. Your life-event will qualify you for COBRA coverage if youre the employee and:

  • Youre laid off.
  • Youre fired, but not for gross misconduct like stealing or assaulting the boss.
  • Your employment is terminated for any other reason.
  • Youre still employed, but your hours are reduced to a level that causes you to lose your health insurance benefit .

Your life-event will qualify you for COBRA coverage if youre the spouse or dependent of the covered employee and youre losing coverage because:

How Do You Qualify For Cobra Health Insurance

COBRA health coverage can only be used in certain situations. These situations are sometimes called, qualifying events. How do you know if you’re eligible? COBRA eligibility includes:

As an employee:

  • You must have been employed and covered under an employer’s group health plan.
  • You must have been laid off, fired, retired, or quit or had your work hours cut to the point that your employer is no longer required to cover you under a group health plan.

As a dependent:

  • If you are a dependent of someone who qualifies for COBRA based on the above, you may be eligible, too.
  • If you are a spouse who divorces or files for legal separation from the employee, you may qualify.
  • A spouse of an employee who dies, may also meet COBRA eligibility.

If you are unsure whether you meet COBRA eligibility requirements, you can contact your employers human resources department. You can also contact the insurance carrier for the health plan.

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What Is A Qualifying Event

A qualifying event must occur before youre eligible for COBRA benefits.

  • Death: If you die, you obviously wont need to worry about health insurance but its nice to know that any dependents will be covered.
  • Termination: If you get fired, youll probably be stressed, which can lead to health problems. Lucky for you, COBRA continues your health insurance.
  • Divorce: If you get a divorce but had health insurance through your ex, dont fight about it in court. Youre eligible for COBRA through their employer.
  • Moving to Medicare: When you become eligible for Medicare but are covered under an employer plan, your dependents are qualified for COBRA.
  • Growing Up: Family plans only insure children up to a certain age. At that point, they must obtain their own insurance plan but COBRA is provided so they have time to research the market.

How Long Can I Keep My Cobra Insurance

Understanding COBRA Health Insurance

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The length of time you can keep COBRA coverage depends on your qualifying event . If your major medical coverage ends because your employment ends , or because your hours are reduced, you and your qualified dependents can keep coverage under the employers health insurance for up to 18 months by paying for the full cost of the coverage.

COBRA Basics. Employees who are covered by their employer’s group health insurance plan can continue their coverage even after a “qualifying event” that would otherwise terminate their coverage. Qualifying events for employees include quitting, getting laid off or fired , or getting a cut in hours that brings the employee below the employer’s threshold

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Is My Health Insurance Subject To Cobra

Not all health plans have to offer COBRA continuation coverage. Your plan does if its a group plan offered through a private-sector employer with at least 20 full-time employees . COBRA also applies to most state and local government health plans.

You wont be eligible for COBRA if there is no health plan to continue because your employer went bankrupt. In addition, COBRA doesnt apply to health plans offered by the federal government, by churches, or by some church-related organizations.

For example, when I resigned from my nursing job with Florida Hospitals, I wasnt eligible for COBRA health insurance. This had nothing to do with me it was because my former employer, Florida Hospitals, is part of Adventist Healthcare, an organization run by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Because Florida Hospitals is a church-related organization, its employee health plan isnt subject to the COBRA law.

But when I quit my job working at a Kaiser Permanente hospital, I was eligible for COBRA health insurance. Kaiser is a large, private-sector, non-church related employer. Kaisers health plan was subject to the COBRA law it had to offer me COBRA continuation coverage.

Special Leave Of Absence Coverage

SLOAC is available when on a medically approved Leave of Absence for Restoration of Health which commences immediately following cessation of in-service status.

When a member is off payroll due to illness or accident, the member may be eligible to have his or her City basic health insurance and Welfare Fund benefits continued for up to four months through the Department of Education’s Special Leave of Absence Coverage . As an additional benefit, the Welfare Fund will continue that coverage for up to eight additional months.


In addition, continuation of coverage, as stated above, is available to a paraprofessional who is on an approved leave while receiving Workers Compensation. You must submit the Application for Leave of Absence for Employees in Paraprofessional Titles, issued by the Department of Education with Approval indicated in the appropriate section by the Medical Director for those on authorized sick leave without pay.

All others

Other members may be eligible for continuation of Medical and Welfare Fund benefits for a period not to exceed one year if the member:

  • receives an official leave for restoration of health from the Department of Education which commences immediately following cessation of in-service status and
  • is eligible to receive SLOAC through the Department of Education.
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    Losing Insurance When You Retire

    If you are fairly healthy and still want to remain insured, more affordable insurance alternatives to COBRA may be available based on where you live. Term health insurance is a popular option and available in most States. This can protect you from high medical costs of new injuries or new illnesses that unexpectedly occur while allowing you to use any licensed doctor. Coverage is available up to $1 million per person. For more information and pricing, you can call us at or complete a free quote online.

    Am I Eligible For Cobra Health Insurance

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    Shereen Lehman, MS, is a healthcare journalist and fact checker. She has co-authored two books for the popular Dummies Series .

    If you anticipate a change in your life, planning for health insurance after that change is an important part of maintaining your financial security and your health. A popular way to get health insurance after a major life event is to continue your employer-sponsored health insurance using COBRA continuation coverage.

    If you get a divorce, become a widow or widower, or lose your job, losing your health insurance can add even more stress when your coping mechanisms are already maxed-out. If youre scrambling to find a new job, move, learn how to live without a partner, or all of those things at once, choosing a new health plan in the individual market can be overwhelming .

    With COBRA continuation coverage, you dont have to pick a new plan. You simply continue the same employer-sponsored coverage you currently have. No starting over with a new deductible and out-of-pocket maximum mid-way through the year. No finding a new doctor because your current doctor isnt in-network with your new health plan. No transferring medical records or prescriptions. You can continue your current health insurance for up to 18 or 36 months , which should hopefully be time enough to get back on your feet and obtain new coverage.

    To be eligible for COBRA, you must satisfy all three of the following requirements:

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    Election Of Cobra Continuation

    Learn about electing COBRA Continuation.Read More

    To elect COBRA continuation of health coverage, the eligible person must complete a COBRA – Continuation of Coverage Application. Employees and/or eligible family members can obtain application forms from their agency payroll or personnel office. Please contact the welfare fund if you wish to purchase its benefits.

    Eligible persons electing COBRA continuation coverage must do so within 60 days of the date on which they receive notification of their rights, and must pay the initial premium within 45 days of their election. Premium payments will be made on a monthly basis. Payments after the initial payment will have a 30-day grace period.

    Former employees and dependents who elect COBRA continuation coverage are entitled to the same benefits and rights as employees. Therefore, COBRA enrollees may take part in the annual Transfer Period.

    Individuals eligible for COBRA may also transfer when a change of address allows or eliminates access to a health plan that requires residency in a particular Zip Code.

    How Does My Health Plan Know To Offer Me Cobra

    If youre eligible for COBRA health insurance, you wont get a COBRA election notice from your health plan if the health plan doesnt know about your life-changing event. Someone has to tell the health plan administrator. This is known as “giving qualifying event notice.

    The employer will tell your health plan if your loss of coverage is due to the termination of the employee, death of the employee, employee Medicare eligibility, or reduction of employee work hours. Its your responsibility to tell your health plan if your loss of coverage is due to divorce, legal separation, or a young-adult losing dependent status under plan rules.

    In some cases, you may be tempted to withhold notice. If the employer and health plan dont know youre legally separated, you might think you wont have to pay the COBRA health insurance premiums. Youd just continue on with spousal coverage as though youre a married couple. Think again.

    Youre required to give qualifying event notice in a timely manner. Not giving qualifying event notice is a type of fraud youre basically stealing health insurance coverage for which youre no longer eligible. The employer may demand reimbursement for its share of the monthly premiums paid for the coverage you were no longer eligible to receive. The health plan may demand reimbursement for the health care it paid for while you were receiving coverage fraudulently.

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    Can I Decide To Stop Cobra Insurance

    If you elect COBRA insurance and later decide it is too expensive or you want to pick a new plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may only do so during the open enrollment period, which runs from November 1, 2020 to December 15, 2020, unless you qualify for a special enrollment period.

    If your COBRA insurance is scheduled to end before the normal enrollment period begins, or your COBRA costs rise because of a change by your former employer, you will be able to choose a new plan during the special enrollment period .

    Does Cobra Have Dental And Vision Insurance

    Can I apply for health insurance if I’m unemployed, or lose Cobra coverage, under Obamacare?

    Yes, COBRA covers dental and vision premiums for 18 months. It covers dental and vision coverage as a secondary insurance, which means that the employer pays first in order to cover these benefits.

    If you are laid-off or quit your job, COBRA will pay your health care costs up until 18 months following termination of employment. However, you must have both dental and vision coverage while employed if you want them covered by Cobra after quitting.

    For example, if you have a dental and vision plan through an employer, when leaving your job and becoming eligible for COBRA, you do not need to worry about losing the coverage. If your dental and vision is separate from your medical insurance, you can choose to keep one or the other through COBRA. If the dental or vision is bundled with your medical insurance, you should continue both.

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