Know Your COBRA Insurance Rights

A doctor informs a patient about their COBRA insurance rights during a doctor's visit.

If you’ve been laid off, there’s no need to worry immediately about losing your healthcare coverage. You may qualify for the extension of your benefits.

COBRA insurance, a federal legislation commonly referred to as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, plays a crucial role in maintaining uninterrupted health coverage for eligible employees, their partners, and dependent offspring even in situations where their existing insurance would cease. This invaluable support system offered by COBRA insurance has been widely praised as a necessary safeguard for families facing challenging circumstances like job loss, marital dissolution, or bereavement.

The new health care reform legislation, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, did not eliminate COBRA or change the COBRA rules. However, workers who are no longer receiving employee provided health care coverage may also purchase insurance through the health care insurance marketplace exchange.

If you willingly quit your job or are fired for any reason other than “serious misconduct”, you have the right to continue receiving health insurance from your previous employer’s group plan as an individual or for your family for up to 18 months, but you will have to pay for it yourself. In some cases, your spouse and dependent children may also be eligible for this coverage for a maximum of three years. However, if you have an individual health insurance plan that you purchased on your own, rather than through your job or an organization, it is not covered by COBRA law. Once you no longer have that coverage, you cannot extend it under COBRA.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is COBRA insurance?

COBRA insurance is a federal legislation, officially known as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. It plays a crucial role in maintaining uninterrupted health coverage for eligible employees, their partners, and dependent offspring in situations where their existing insurance would cease, such as job loss, marital dissolution, or bereavement.

How does the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) affect COBRA?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, did not eliminate COBRA or change the COBRA rules. However, it allows workers who are no longer receiving employee-provided health care coverage to purchase insurance through the health care insurance marketplace exchange.

Am I eligible for COBRA insurance if I quit my job or get fired?

Yes, if you willingly quit your job or are fired for any reason other than “serious misconduct”, you have the right to continue receiving health insurance from your previous employer’s group plan as an individual or for your family for up to 18 months, but you will have to pay for it yourself.

Can my spouse and dependent children also get COBRA coverage?

Yes, in some cases, your spouse and dependent children may also be eligible for COBRA coverage for a maximum of three years.

Is my individual health insurance plan covered by COBRA law?

No, if you have an individual health insurance plan that you purchased on your own, rather than through your job or an organization, it is not covered by COBRA law. Once you no longer have that coverage, you cannot extend it under COBRA.

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