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How Do I Apply For COBRA Insurance?

If I leave my current employer my insurance coverage will remain until May 31st. I would like to get COBRA coverage as of June 1st to not have any gaps in coverage. How would I go about getting COBRA insurance?

COBRA is a federal law. Not an insurance company or a particular plan. The term “COBRA insurance” refers to the same workplace health insurance you had, except the employer is no longer subsidizing a portion of it.

What Are The Steps To Get COBRA Insurance?

In simple terms, this is how COBRA insurance works:

  1. Your employer work health insurance ended due to a qualifying event
  2. Within 45 days of the qualifying event, the employer sends you an election notice to restart your workplace insurance
  3. Within 60 days of the election notice, you may choose to enroll back into your health plan where the coverage will pick up back up after making your first premium payment
  4. Your copays, coinsurance, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses and insurance cards for the year stay the same
  5. You have 45 days to make your first COBRA premium payment
  6. The coverage is retroactive and any medical expenses you incur before the COBRA plan starts may be submitted for reimbursement

Employer Election Notice Of COBRA Must Be Sent Within 45 Days

Applying for COBRA continuation of previous health benefits begins with the employer who sponsored the insurance to notify you. The employer has 30 days to notify the group health plan of the qualifying event. After that, the employer has 14 days to notify you of your COBRA right to keep your work health insurance. In total, the employer has within 45 days to send the COBRA election notice to continue your health plan.

You Have 60 Days To Sign Up For COBRA And Enroll

Once you receive your COBRA enrollment forms from your previous employer, you have 60 days to send back the election form. If you have questions regarding the application, you’ll want to reach out to the employer’s human resources department and ask for the COBRA Administrator.

Your COBRA coverage is retroactive to the date of your job loss (or when the former insurance would have ended). As long as you submit the enrollment papers and premium payments, there will not be a lapse or gap in your coverage. These legal rights are made possible by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, otherwise known as COBRA.

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When Does Coverage Begin?

Your COBRA insurance will start immediately after making your first premium payment. Once you elect to continue the employer group health plan, your benefits will be retroactive to the date your coverage would otherwise have stopped. If you have out-of-pocket expenses between the time the coverage stopped and then started, you may be reimbursed by your carrier.

COBRA is Expensive

Expect the COBRA premium to cost the same as major medical insurance, which averages $400 – $700/month, per individual.

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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.

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