COBRA Eligibility: A Guide to Continued Health Insurance 

This article will discuss the eligibility requirements for COBRA continuation coverage.

COBRA is a law that allows people to continue their health insurance if they leave their job. This guide will help you understand the rules of COBRA and what to do if you are eligible for it.


COBRA—short for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act—might be familiar to you, particularly if you’ve lost your job or had your working hours cut. If you’ve been laid off, you’ve most likely gotten a COBRA notification. But what is COBRA coverage, and how do you know whether you’re eligible for it?

Is COBRA the greatest option for you and your loved ones?

What Is COBRA Coverage and How Does It Work?

COBRA coverage, sometimes known as COBRA continuation coverage, is a kind of insurance that employees may choose after losing their employer-provided group health insurance benefits. The COBRA option is usually activated by a worker’s hours being decreased below the necessary level, but it may also be triggered by a worker’s hours being lowered below the required threshold.

COBRA insurance is a kind of health insurance that provides a temporary continuance of group benefits that a worker might otherwise lose. COBRA is a set of health-benefit laws that modify the ERISA Act, the Internal Revenue Code, and the Public Health Service Act. COBRA continuation coverage is only available for a limited time under the legislation, between 18 and 36 months, but certain plans may provide longer durations of coverage.


COBRA benefits are available not just to the employee, but also to their spouses, ex spouses, and dependant children.

COBRA coverage is often more costly than the same benefits under the employer’s group health plan, since the company is no longer obliged to pay a portion of the cost of the coverage, and the employee is left to foot the bill.

COBRA Eligibility Determination

COBRA applies to group health plans maintained by private-sector companies with 20 or more workers, as well as group health plans provided by state or local governments. COBRA does not apply to plans sponsored by the federal government or by churches or religious groups.

Certain states have laws that are similar to COBRA in that they prevent workers from losing health coverage if they leave their job or have their hours cut. These state legislation, often referred to as “mini-COBRA,” may apply to businesses with less than 20 workers.

Just because you’re eligible for COBRA doesn’t mean you have to utilize it. Instead, it’s intended to be a decision you can make. Other alternatives, such as a spouse’s plan or Medicaid, may be accessible to you. You may be qualified for special enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace if you lose your work, but you must choose a plan within 60 days of leaving your employment. These alternatives may be considerably less costly for you, and the benefits they offer may even be more generous.


If you have a gap in your coverage, you may be able to obtain COBRA coverage for the time between leaving your job and beginning coverage via the Marketplace.

1631369497_35_COBRA-Eligibility-A-Guide-to-Continued-Health-Insurance-TopEligibility’s Components

Your workplace health plan must be covered by COBRA, a qualifying event must occur, and you must be a qualified beneficiary are the three primary components of eligibility for COBRA continuing coverage.

COBRA coverage is required for your employer health plan. COBRA usually covers private-sector group plans as well as state and local government plans with 20 or more workers. This figure includes both full-time and part-time workers; part-time employees are recorded as a fraction of a full-time employee.

There must be a qualifying event. A qualifying event is anything that causes an employee’s group health insurance to lapse, making them eligible for COBRA health insurance benefits. Employees may be exposed to the following events:

  • finalization (except in the case of gross misconduct)
  • a decrease in the amount of time spent working

These same qualifying events, as well as the following additional qualifying events, will make COBRA an option for spouses and dependents of insured employees:


  • The employee is now eligible for Medicare.
  • Divorce or legal separation of the covered employee’s spouse
  • Employee’s death is covered.

Plans that cover dependent children must continue to do so until the adult kid is 26 years old, according to the Affordable Care Act.

You are a deserving recipient. A covered employee, the employee’s spouse or ex spouse, or the employee’s dependent child are all eligible beneficiaries of COBRA coverage. A retired employee, their spouse, and dependents may be deemed eligible beneficiaries in certain circumstances when a business goes bankrupt.

Who is responsible for the cost of COBRA coverage?

COBRA continuation coverage is often more costly than the identical coverage provided by the employer, but it cannot exceed 102 percent of the plan’s cost for an employee who is still covered by the business. The plan may include the amount of time the employee spent to play, as well as the cost to the company, plus an extra 2% for administrative expenses.

The election letter notifying you of your choice to enroll in COBRA continuation coverage should contain all essential information about COBRA, including what it is, what premiums you may anticipate, when those payments are due, and any penalties for late or nonpayment of premiums.

Some companies may opt to subsidize or pay for their workers’ health insurance, and in some instances, this may include COBRA coverage as part of a severance agreement.

During COVID-19, COBRA coverage is available.

The continuing COVID-19 epidemic has resulted in a massive increase in unemployment in the United States in recent months. Unemployment rates have reached new highs this summer, surpassing the worst levels seen during the Great Recession, which peaked at 10.0% in October 2009.

As millions of people throughout the nation have lost their jobs, either permanently or temporarily, and therefore their health insurance, an increasing number of people may be curious about their own COBRA eligibility, attempting to decide whether COBRA is the best choice for them.

When a person loses their job, COBRA insurance enables them to remain on their former employer’s health plan, but there are usually increased costs. The deadline for choosing whether or not to join in COBRA has been delayed because to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Workers who have lost their employment typically have 60 days to determine whether to enroll in COBRA and then another 45 days to pay their initial payment. In view of the continuing epidemic, the US Labor Department (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have issued joint advice enabling newly jobless Americans to select whether or not to participate in COBRA for up to 60 days after the official coronavirus national emergency designation ends.

The national emergency for coronavirus will expire on June 29, therefore the next COBRA registration date will be August 28. The government, on the other hand, may decide to prolong the national emergency, which would push back the deadline.

Application for COBRA Eligibility

Your employer’s COBRA notification should include instructions on how to file a claim for COBRA benefits. Make careful to follow these regulations and meet the dates, since missing deadlines may result in temporary coverage termination or possibly the loss of COBRA privileges entirely.

When workers depart, employers are legally obliged to notify them of their COBRA eligibility and give specific information regarding the plan.

Former workers have filed class action lawsuits alleging that they were not provided enough notice of the healthcare benefits they would get under COBRA after leaving the business. Because filing a case may be intimidating, Top Class Actions has made it easier for you by matching you with an experienced attorney. A lawyer can assist you in determining if you have a claim, navigating the intricacies of litigation, and maximizing your possible reward.

The cobra insurance rules are the set of regulations that govern how employers must provide continued health insurance for their employees. These rules were passed by Congress in 1996 and are meant to ensure that people who lose their jobs will still be able to afford health care.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a person become eligible for Cobra continuation coverage?

To be eligible for Cobra continuation coverage, a person must have a Cobra policy that is in effect at the time of their death. If the policy was not in effect when they died, then they are not eligible for Cobra continuation coverage.

How long can you continue benefits under Cobra?

The length of time a Cobra package is valid depends on the package. For example, a 30-day Cobra package is valid for thirty days from the date you purchase it.

What are the 7 Cobra qualifying events?

The 7 Cobra qualifying events are as follows:

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