How long can my spouse stay on COBRA after I’m eligible for Medicare?

Q: I am considering retirement at 63 & 1/2 years of age. I understand that I would be covered under Cobra until at age 65 when Medicare kicks in. My question has to do with my wife, who would be 61 at the time I retire. Since Cobra seems to have a 36 month limit, would she be covered until she becomes 65 and eligible for Medicare? Would the trigger for a spouse apply when I become eligible for Medicare to extend the time of her coverage, or would we have to find a private plan for that extra year? A : The amount of time your spouse can stay on COBRA is for 36 months when you become eligible for Medicare and retire. If you retire before you are eligible for Medicare you and your spouse can continue coverage through COBRA for 18 months. There can not be an extension for COBRA to carry you until you are both eligible for Medicare. Once your COBRA ends you will need to find other insurance.

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