Coverage if something happens but not yet signed up

ody Q: My wife will be leaving her job and will have 19 days before she can be covered on my plan. She will be without insurance only for these 19 days.

If something happens during this 3 week period and she is not signed up for COBRA (i.e., accident) can she still be covered since she is in the election period? (i.e., can she sign up for COBRA after the fact if she incurs medical expenses)? If something happens will this be considered a pre-existing condition if it happens before she signs up but is still during the election period?

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