COBRA: Keeping Health Insurance After You Leave Your Job
Disclaimer: The American Cancer Society does not provide legal advice. This information is intended to provide general background regarding this area of law.
COBRA provides individuals in certain circumstances with the option of retaining employer-purchased health insurance for an additional period of time
after they have stopped working if they are unable to obtain coverage through their spouse’s employment or in the marketplace. of medical insurance. Workers need to know about the healthcare laws that allow them to find or keep the most affordable health insurance.
For detailed information on COBRA coverage, call the Employee Benefits Security Administration at 1-866-444-3272 or visit their website at www.dol.gov/ebsa. You can also get a brochure with detailed information, called An Employee’s Guide to Health Benefits Under COBRA.
Another good resource for more details about COBRA is the brochure
from your health insurance plan or the person who administers your plan. Most of the specific regulations on COBRA benefits can be found at one of these resources.
If you have questions about your state’s COBRA and health insurance requirements,
you can find information for your state’s department of health insurance by contacting the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
What is COBRA?
COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. This law guarantees employees in certain situations the right to make appropriate group
health insurance premium payments in order to maintain coverage they would otherwise lose after:
- Reducing your working hours.
- Leave the job.
- job loss
Most people can keep insurance for up to 18 months. Some people may be able to keep it longer than that. HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE AFTER LEAVING A JOB?
How the Affordable Care Act Affects COBRA
The Affordable Care Act (ACA, sometimes referred to as Obamacare) provides affordable health insurance for people, including those with cancer and other serious health problems. Its purpose is to ensure that most health plans cover the medical care that cancer patients and survivors may need.
Health insurance marketplaces offer more health insurance options to people who don’t have access to a health plan through their employers.
It may also help those who leave their jobs and lose employer-provided group health insurance.
Also, for some people, purchasing a health plan through their state’s health insurance marketplace may cost less than paying for COBRA coverage.
COBRA vs. individual health plan through your state’s health insurance marketplace
Even with the State Health Insurance Marketplace options through the ACA, for some people, the COBRA option may be a good option.
If you lose your group health insurance coverage because you lost or left a job, it’s best to compare the benefits of your COBRA group plan and the costs of the individual health plans you can buy on your local health insurance marketplace. state.
Keep in mind that if you lost your job,
your lower income could qualify you for financial assistance when purchasing a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace. You will also have a special enrollment period to purchase a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Before opting for COBRA, make sure the plan and the cost of the plan are acceptable to you,
at least until the next enrollment period begins in your state (open enrollment is the time when you can make changes in your coverage without penalties).
If you don’t opt for COBRA and never pay any of the premiums, the loss of group coverage triggers a special enrollment period in your state’s health insurance marketplace.
This means you can enroll in a Health Insurance Marketplace plan at that time, even if it’s outside of the normal Marketplace enrollment period. You will have 60 days as a special enrollment period.
The fastest ways to get a plan on the state health insurance marketplace are:
- Find your state’s health insurance marketplace, click the enrollment link, and select the state where you live.
- Access the Health Insurance Marketplaces Help Line available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-318-2596.
If you opt for COBRA, it is important to be aware of the risks of dropping that coverage before exhausting it.
It is recommended that you coordinate the initiation of the new coverage so that you do not have a gap in coverage while you receive treatment or follow-up care. HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE AFTER LEAVING A JOB
How long does COBRA coverage last?
How long you can keep coverage under COBRA depends on your eligibility event (see next section). If your primary health coverage ends when you end your employment (for reasons other than misconduct) or because you reduce your work hours,
you and your qualified dependents can keep your employer health insurance coverage for up to 18 months through payment of the full cost of your coverage.
Note that a few states require employers to offer COBRA coverage for a period longer than federal law requires. As mentioned, your state insurance commission office can tell you more about this.
What is an Eligibility Event and Eligibility Event Notification under COBRA?
An eligibility event causes employees or their dependents to lose group health plan coverage but allows them to qualify for COBRA coverage.
Before a group insurance plan must offer COBRA coverage, the health plan administrator must be informed of the eligibility event through an eligibility event notice. To learn more about the eligibility events at the US Department of Employment, see the information in the COBRA section of their website.
What is a notice of COBRA eligibility and what should I do when I get one?
Within 14 days of receiving notification of the eligibility event (listed above), the employer or health care coverage plan administrator must give the person
who is about to lose their health insurance a written notice of their rights under COBRA law. The written notice is referred to as an election notice. You must include all the information you will need to understand your coverage under COBRA so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you choose to continue coverage. You should also be given the name of the person who manages COBRA coverage for the health care plan (the COBRA administrator) and told how to get more information.
The employee and/or eligible dependents have 60 days after receiving the election notice to decide if they want to continue health insurance coverage under COBRA.
The employee and/or dependent must notify the COBRA plan administrator listed on their election notice in writing if they want to keep their health insurance. The COBRA administrator is the person who tracks COBRA benefits for the employer.
How long does an employee have to stay at their job to receive COBRA coverage?
You are eligible for COBRA coverage if you were covered under a group health plan on the day prior to the qualifying event. This prior-day rule also applies to your spouse and dependents who were included in the plan. man fashion