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COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconcilliation Act of 1986)

COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconcilliation Act of 1986)

• Group health plans with 20 or more employees are required to offer continuation of group health insurance coverage for individuals and their dependents.
• Employees qualify for COBRA due to voluntary or involuntary termination or reduction in the number of hours worked. COBRA coverage is available for 18 months after an individual leaves employment or up to 36 months in some circumstances.
• If you become disabled within 60 days of starting COBRA and apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you need to inform your COBRA Plan Administrator within 60 days of being notified of SSDI eligibility. In that event, COBRA can be extended for an additional 11 months. This expansion of COBRA to a total of 29 months will allow you to have continuous coverage until you become eligible for Medicare, which begins 24 months after you become eligible for Social Security Disability.
• Group health coverage for COBRA participants is usually more expensive than health coverage for active employees. This is because the employer typically pays for part of the health insurance premium for active employees. COBRA participants must pay the full health insurance premium.
• Although COBRA coverage can be costly, it can be less expensive than individual health coverage.
• Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a 65% reduction in COBRA premiums is available to certain assistance eligible individuals for up to nine months.


United States Department of Labor

866-487-2365 Website

Provides information on COBRA coverage and the new COBRA subsidy available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.