COBRA Continuation Coverage

Losing Your Health Insurance

Have you or one of your dependents lost insurance coverage from an employer-sponsored group health plan? If so, there’s no need to panic. Although you no longer have health benefits as part of your job, you have other coverage options, such as COBRA insurance.

What is COBRA?

COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. It’s a federal law that was passed in 1986 that helps qualified beneficiaries — like you and your covered dependents — to continue the same health care coverage you had the day before you experienced your qualifying event.

COBRA Qualifying Events

  • Termination (voluntary or involuntary) — for reasons other than gross misconduct
  • Reduction in hours of employment
  • Divorce or legal separation
  • Loss of dependent child status
  • Death of the covered employee
  • Covered employee’s entitlement to Medicare*

* Typically, this will not be a qualifying event for spouses and dependent children of active employees due to the Medicare Secondary Payer Rules.

Learn more on our Qualified Beneficiaries and Qualifying Events pages.

Continuing Your Same Health Care Coverage

COBRA offers you continuation coverage. That’s simply continuing the same coverage you had the day before you lost your coverage. If you choose to elect COBRA coverage, you cannot be denied coverage based on your medical history, and you are not required to provide proof of insurability. For many people, COBRA provides peace of mind during a difficult time.

CONEXIS, COBRA Coverage, and You

Many employers contract with CONEXIS to provide COBRA administration services to their employees and qualified dependents. If your employer — or former employer — uses our COBRA services, you will be receiving notices and other information from us. This information will explain your right to continue your insurance coverage under COBRA.

If you choose to elect (enroll in) COBRA, go to our Electing Coverage page for more information.

Coverage — But Only for a Limited Time

Your COBRA election period is based on your qualifying event.

Qualifying Event Covered Person(s) Period of Coverage
  • Termination of Employment (voluntary or involuntary) —
    for reasons other than gross misconduct
  • Reduction in Hours of Employment
Dependent Child
Up to 18 months
  • Divorce or Legal Separation
  • Death of the Covered Employee
  • Employee’s Entitlement to Medicare*
Dependent Child
Up to 36 months
  • Loss of Dependent Child Status Under the Plan
Dependent Child Up to 36 months

* Typically, this will not be a qualifying event for spouses and/or dependent children of active employees due to the Medicare Secondary Payer Rules.

Current COBRA participants may need to participate in their employers’ open enrollment. Learn more on our Open Enrollment page.

If you are nearing the end of your COBRA coverage, find out what your options are after you lose COBRA coverage. Information is available on our Losing Coverage page.

COBRA Can Be Pricey

Yes, it’s true … COBRA can be expensive. You are generally required to pay the full cost of your health coverage plus an additional 2 percent administrative fee. Remember, this is the full premium charged by the insurance carrier, including the portion that your employer paid on your behalf prior to your qualifying event.

To remain eligible for COBRA, you must pay your premiums on time each month. If your payment is late or you fail to make a payment, your COBRA coverage will be canceled and you will lose your COBRA rights.

Find more information on our Paying for COBRA page.

Other Coverage Options Are Available

You do not have to elect COBRA to have health insurance for you and your family. In fact, chances are you can secure coverage through other options, such as individual or family plans that will cover you and your family at a lower cost than COBRA.

See the coverage options available to you and your dependents on our
COBRA Alternatives page.

Do You Have COBRA Questions?

If you have questions after reviewing this information, find answers on our COBRA Frequently Asked Questions page.

You can also get additional COBRA details on the Department of Labor website.


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