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COBRA Health
Insurance 101

Do You Need COBRA Health Insurance?

If you lose the health coverage provided by your employer for any reason, you can keep your benefits for a set period of time by signing up for a COBRA health insurance policy. With COBRA, your coverage must be identical to what your employer gives its current employees. This protection is provided regardless of any pre-existing health conditions. However, COBRA is not intended to be the answer to every individual’s situation. You may want to consider purchasing a COBRA plan if the following situations describe you:

  • Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • Have a pre-existing health condition
  • Take prescription medications
  • Need a medical procedure soon
  • Require extensive medical care
  • Recently declined for private health plans

COBRA is a great option for people who fit the descriptions above. At the same time, it can be a costly choice, with some policies costing up to 102% of your premium. For those who are relatively healthy or have a limited budget, this type of coverage may not be the ideal option. Doing a little research and comparing quotes from multiple providers can help you figure out if COBRA is right for you.

Important COBRA FAQs

1) Am I eligible for COBRA coverage?

To be covered by COBRA, you must have been enrolled in a health plan provided by your employer and this plan must be in effect for active employees. If you’ve experienced an event that caused you to lose your benefits, you are eligible for COBRA.

2) How long do I have to sign up for COBRA benefits?

You have a period of at least 60 days to decide whether to elect or waive COBRA coverage. This period begins on either the date you are furnished the election notice or the date you would lose coverage (whichever comes later).

3) What benefits must be covered?

The coverage you receive under COBRA must be the same as the coverage currently available under the plan to similarly situated active employees and their dependents. Any change made to the plan that affects the active employees will also apply to those enrolled through COBRA.

4) How long does COBRA coverage last?

You will be covered for 18 to 36 months, depending on what type of qualifying event caused you to loose your original coverage. If the qualifying event was a reduction in hours or the termination of employment, you are entitled to 18 months of COBRA coverage.

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