What is COBRA insurance and how does it work?

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, …

When should you elect COBRA Insurance?

COBRA is great if you have major pre-existing conditions, see doctors often or take a lot of expensive prescription medication.

How Much Is It?

The Cost of COBRA coverage can range from $500 to $700 per month, per individual. When you were employed, your employer likely subsidized a portion of the cost of your health insurance premiums. When you choose to continue your health insurance coverage through COBRA, you will be responsible for paying the full premium yourself. As a result, the premiums for COBRA coverage are generally higher than what you were paying while you were employed. 

Applying For COBRA Health Insurance

When your job health insurance stops, you are allowed a special open enrollment period to select new health insurance. One option is to choose COBRA.

If you lose your job or your work insurance ends, your employer must offer you COBRA. You will be sent a notification generally within 45 days to continue your employer coverage.

You have 60 days to respond to the election notice and apply for COBRA. This special enrollment allows you to continue the same medical policy you had while you were employed.

Is COBRA Coverage Retroactive? Yes, it is.

COBRA coverage is retroactive. This means it covers medical expenses that happened after your old coverage ended, but before COBRA began. If you have any medical expenses during this period, it’s important to keep your hospital and clinic receipts and statements. 

Once you pay your premium, you will be reimbursed for those backdated expenses. In other words, your COBRA coverage will be effective from the date that you lost your previous coverage.

How Long Does COBRA Insurance Last?

Under COBRA, you can generally continue your employer-sponsored health insurance for a limited time, typically 18 months. The specific length of your COBRA coverage will depend on the qualifying event. 

COBRA is a temporary solution. You will need to find other health insurance coverage once your COBRA insurance period runs out. 

Canceling A COBRA Plan

To cancel COBRA benefits, the primary beneficiary must notify the plan administrator in writing that they wish to terminate the plan. 

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