New York COBRA Insurance
In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of New York also offers an extended COBRA insurance plan for employees at companies with between 2-19 employees. This means that even if you do not meet the requirements for federal COBRA insurance, you may still be eligible for COBRA insurance coverage in New York.
Eligibility: In order to be eligible for New York COBRA insurance, you must have been covered by the employer group health insurance plan employment loss and have a qualifying event that entitles you to COBRA insurance. You also can not qualify for federal COBRA insurance. As with federal COBRA laws, your beneficiaries are also eligible for COBRA insurance in New York. You are not eligible for New York COBRA insurance if you are eligible for Medicare or if you qualify for another group health insurance plan.
Signing Up: To sign up for the New York COBRA insurance coverage, you must apply in writing after employment loss. You also must pay the COBRA premium in advance. Your employer and the group health insurer should provide you with an election notice for COBRA insurance when your employment ends, however you should immediately reach out to your insurer if you do not receive notification.
Length of Coverage: New York COBRA insurance covers you for 18 months from the day your group health insurance plan stopped coverage. This applies to former employees, spouses, and dependents.
Termination: New York COBRA insurance can be terminated for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons for termination of New York COBRA insurance coverage is failure to pay premiums, termination of the group health insurance plan by the employer.
For help signing up for New York COBRA insurance, you may consider contacting the following state agencies.
New York State Insurance Department
One Commerce Plaza
Albany, NY 12257
New York City Office
25 Beaver Street
New York, NY 10004-2319
U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
New York (eastern)
New York Regional Office
33 Whitehall Street, Suite 1200
New York, NY 10004
New York (central/western)
Boston Regional Office
J.F.K. Building, Room 575
Boston, MA 02203
Frequently Asked Questions
I just had a baby, can I add him/her to my COBRA insurance plan?
It all depends on the health insurance policy that you chose to continue under the COBRA insurance law. Each group health insurance company has different policies so you will want to call your insurance provider. Under most policies you will be allowed to add your baby once you give birth.
Can my employer deny COBRA insurance benefits?
If you qualify for COBRA insurance under the federal eligibility requirements and have not left your job due to gross misconduct, then your employer can not deny you COBRA insurance benefits. If you think you are unfairly being denied COBRA insurance benefits by your employer you should reach out to the Department of Labor.
Where do I get the COBRA insurance application/enrollment form?
The application for COBRA insurance, also know as the enrollment of election form, should be provided by your employer within 45 days of your last day of work. You can not use a generic form found online to elect COBRA medical insurance so you must reach out to your employer or health insurance company for the form. If 45 days have passed and you are sure you qualify for COBRA insurance, reach out to the Department of Labor at 866-444-3272.
Can I cover my children with COBRA insurance and not myself?
When you receive the COBRA insurance election form, you will have an option to choose who you want to be covered under the COBRA insurance continuation of your group health insurance plan. This means that you can choose to cover only your children, only your spouse, only yourself, or any combination depending on your needs.
You may want to consider who needs to keep the current health insurance plan under COBRA insurance the most (i.e. someone with a preexisting condition or someone who needs consistent medical care) and cover other family members on a less expensive plan.
Can my COBRA insurance premiums change?
Yes. Since COBRA insurance is just a continuation of your group health insurance plan, any changes to that plan, including an increase or decrease in premium costs, will also affect your premium cost under COBRA insurance. Your bill will reflect any changes in costs for the premium. COBRA insurance premiums cannot be locked in at any point.
Is there a COBRA application form I can download?
No. COBRA enrollment forms have to be provided by the employer and group health insurance provider. The election forms, although they contain similar information, contain specific individual information about your plan, the premium, and who is covered so they have to be provided by the employer or group health insurance plan. You should receive this from your employer, as it is their legal obligation to provide the COBRA insurance application, but if your are concerned you should reach out to your employer and request the application.
Are there good COBRA insurance alternatives if I have a preexisting condition?
Likely, COBRA insurance will be your best option if you have a preexisting condition. However it is always worth it to explore alternative options and explain your condition to find out if there is a cheaper option even though you have a preexisting condition. Either way, it is incredibly important to keep some type of medical insurance.
Can I get COBRA insurance if I worked for a small company?
It depends on the size of your company and the number of employees covered under their insurance plan (either full time or their part time equivalents. Federal COBRA insurance only applies to companies who cover at least 20 employees. However, many states have created their own COBRA insurance laws to offer extended coverage to employees at companies with between 2-19 employees. Learn more about state sponsored COBRA insurance.
Can I sign up for COBRA insurance after the 60 day window?
Unfortunately you can not sign up for COBRA insurance after the 60 day enrollment window has ended. If that window has passed you will need to look for alternative insurance through a private company so that you can have health insurance.
Can I sign up for COBRA insurance if I am self employed?
Unfortunately you will not be able to sign up for COBRA insurance if you are self employed. Federal COBRA insurance benefits only extend to people who work for companies with over 20 employees and state sponsored COBRA insurance policies may extend to companies with 2-19 employees. Most likely you will need to seek out COBRA insurance alternatives. The only other option you could possibly explore is if you belong to a group health insurance plan provided by an umbrella network of self employed individuals. If you are part of such a network, you may be eligible for COBRA insurance but you will have to reach out to your plan administrator.