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COBRA Coverage

COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. This law states that an insurance program must give employees of a qualifying company, and their immediate family members, the chance to continue their health insurance coverage once they are no longer eligible due to a “qualifying event”. Usually a company with 20 or more full time employees is considered a qualifying company. The events that qualify for COBRA coverage are the death of the employee; termination of employment by either the company or the employee; loss of eligibility for coverage due to lay off, strike, medical leave or reduction of hours;
divorce of the employee which makes the ex-spouse no longer eligible for coverage; or a child reaching the age that they are no longer covered. The length of the COBRA coverage varies based on the qualifying event that caused it to come into play. Coverage is longer for example if the employee is disabled or divorced than it is if the employee is terminated or has a reduction of hours. With COBRA the cost of the insurance is the sole responsibility of the employee with no assistance from the employer. If the employee does not pay the premium then the coverage lapses and cannot be renewed. The employer is required to notify the employee of the loss of coverage at least 15 days prior to when the coverage ceases.