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COBRA Insurance Information Resource

Helping workers navigate temporary medical insurance options while between jobs and health care plans.

What Is COBRA Health Insurance?

COBRA is a federal law. Not a company. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act or COBRA, is a law that gives workers and their families the right to keep their employer’s group health plan after that insurance would end due to job loss or changes in the immediate family.

Find out if you qualify for COBRA continuation.

Is COBRA Right For You?

The mission of the COBRA Insurance website is to help workers with their continuing health insurance options.

Learn more about when you should continue your health coverage with COBRA or if an affordable temporary medical plan is a better choice.

When COBRA Is Too Expensive

When you elect an employer’s COBRA plan, you are paying the full health insurance premium. The cost of COBRA insurance includes the portion your employer was paying for. Some employers may use a third party administrator to manage their COBRA enrollments. These companies may legally charge an additional 2% service fee.

Temporary Health Plans Are An Alternative

One way to reduce the cost of your health insurance is to use a temporary health plan, like Short Term Medical or Accident Only insurance.

This type of insurance can bridge a gap (or “get by”) until your next major medical plan begins. This type of health insurance is a popular option and available in most states. You won’t find these plans on the federal insurance marketplace. These plans are available on private health insurance marketplaces. Temporary plans do not provide preexisting condition coverage.

Common Third-Party Administrators

Your COBRA plan may be managed by a third-party administrator. Many employers work with the following:

If you are unsure who your plan administrator is, reach out to the human resources department of the company that provided the health insurance you had.

How Does COBRA Work?

Mini-COBRA is Available In Some States

Depending on the state you live in, some businesses with 19 or fewer employees are required to offer a continuation of health insurance. These laws are similar to federal government’s COBRA, but oftentimes have different deadlines for employer election notices and the length of time a former workers must choose.

Find out which states have Mini-COBRA coverage continuation laws and see if it applies to your situation.

COBRA Election and Application Process

After you leave your job or your work insurance ends, the employer has 45 days to notify you of your option of electing COBRA continuation to maintain your medical coverage. This opens a special open enrollment period for you.

You have 60 days to respond to the election notice and apply for COBRA to continue the same medical policy you are or were on.

COBRA Coverage Is Retroactive? Yes it is.

If a medical issue happens between now and the start of your COBRA insurance coverage, keep your hospital and clinic receipts and statements. The coverage is retroactive to the date that you lost coverage. 

You will be reimbursed for those medical expenses, once you pay your COBRA premium.

How Long Does COBRA Last?

You may continue your health insurance on COBRA for 18 months or 36 months depending on the qualifying event.

The qualifying events determines the length of health insurance continuation. Workers may use COBRA for 18 months, while family members losing insurance may stay on the employer plan for 36 months.

Is COBRA Right For Me? Get Expert Advice.

Save Up To 65% Over Choosing COBRA

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The COBRA Insurance website helps workers with their insurance options while in-between employers. If you have questions about choosing COBRA, please call our HealthCare.gov Certified Insurance Specialists.

Are You Eligible For COBRA?

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