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Learn about COBRA insurance and how to get coverage

COBRA, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, lets qualified workers keep their group health insurance for a limited time after a change in eligibility.

Learn how COBRA works

COBRA applies to most private sector businesses with 20 or more employees. It requires an employer's group health insurance plan to continue after qualifying life events. These include:

  • Termination or a reduction of a covered employee's hours
  • Divorce or legal separation from a covered employee
  • Death of a covered employee
  • Medicare eligibility for a covered employee
  • Loss of a child's or dependent's health insurance coverage under the plan

Qualified beneficiaries under COBRA include:

  • An employee
  • Spouse
  • Former spouses
  • Dependent children

Find out if you are eligible for COBRA

Three basic requirements must be met for you to be able to elect to continue coverage under COBRA:

  • Your group health plan must be covered by COBRA.
  • A qualifying event must occur.
  • You must be a qualified beneficiary for that event.

How to get COBRA coverage

When a qualifying life event happens, you or your employer will notify the health plan. The plan will send an election notice that you will have 60 days to respond to. If you elect to take COBRA coverage, your employer may pay a portion of or the full amount of your insurance premium.

To get more information about COBRA benefits, read this publication from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) [PDF, 544KB].

LAST UPDATED: July 12, 2024


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