COBRA stands for “Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.” Basically, it means that some families can keep their workplace coverage even after the family member is no longer at that workplace or if a divorce has occured. It is the same coverage the worker (or dependent) had while at the workplace, but the cost is higher.
Who can get COBRA?
You may be able to get COBRA coverage if you are losing health insurance that comes from a workplace with 20 or more employees. This includes:
- Workers and covered child(ren) and spouse losing their coverage because they leave their job;
- Workers and covered child(ren) and spouse who lose their job for reasons other than “gross misconduct” on their part;
- People losing coverage through their spouse’s workplace because of a divorce, legal separation or death;
- A child losing coverage through their parent’s workplace because they became too old to qualify as a dependents;
- People losing work-based coverage because they become eligible for Medicare.
How long does COBRA last?
COBRA usually lasts up to 18 months, but it can last up to 36 months for people in situations like number 3, 4, and 5, above.