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COBRA Continuation Coverage

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires most group health plans to provide a temporary continuation of group health coverage that otherwise might be terminated. COBRA requires most group health plans to offer continuation coverage to covered employees, former employees, spouses, former spouses, and dependent children when group health coverage would otherwise be lost due to certain events.

These events include:

  • a covered employee's death
  • a covered employee's job loss (including resignation/retirement) or reduction in hours for reasons other than gross misconduct
  • a covered employee becoming entitled to Medicare
  • a covered employee's divorce or legal separation
  • a child's loss of dependent status (and therefore coverage) under the plan 

COBRA continuation coverage letters are mailed to qualified individuals approximately two weeks after the termination of benefits. Please wait to receive your letter in the mail before contacting Benefit Services. The letter will explain timelines for electing COBRA, the cost of electing coverage, and information on how to make payment(s) for your coverage. More affordable coverage may be available to qualified individuals through the the Health Insurance Marketplace

Length of continuation coverage for former employees: Former employees can continue coverage for up to 18 months. In certain circumstances, former employees entitled to 18 months of continuation of coverage may become entitled to a disability extension of an additional 11 months (for a total maximum of 29 months) or an extension of an additional 18 months due to the occurrence of a second qualifying event. 

Length of continuation coverage for dependents of employees/retirees: If you lose coverage due to divorce, legal separation, death of the employee or retiree, or a child aging out (turning 26), coverage may be continued for up to 36 months. Special rules apply when the former employee or retiree is entitled to Medicare. 

Your continuation coverage may be terminated before the end of your period if you do not pay the required premiums by the end of the grace period, obtain coverage under another group health plan, become entitled to Medicare, or engage in fraud. 

COBRA Premiums
An Employee's Guide to Health Benefits Under COBRA


COBRA American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) Temporary Premium Assistance Information

The ARP provides temporary premium assistance for COBRA continuation coverage to certain individuals who are eligible for COBRA continuation coverage due to a qualifying event that is a reduction in hours or an involuntary termination of employment for reasons other than gross misconduct. Qualified individuals may receive COBRA premium assistance from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021. If you believe you are a qualified individual and became qualified for COBRA continuation coverage on or after November 1, 2019, contact Benefit Services for information about the premium assistance and electing COBRA continuation coverage. 

To be eligible for premium assistance you:

  • must have a COBRA qualifying event that is a reduction in hours or an involuntary termination for reasons other than gross misconduct; and
  • must elect COBRA continuation coverage; and
  • must not be eligible for Medicare; and
  • must not be eligible for coverage under any group health plan, such as a plan sponsored by a new employer or a spouse's employer. 

Summary of the COBRA Premium Assistance Provisions under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021