New Jersey COBRA Insurance
In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of New Jersey 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 Jersey.
Eligibility: In order to be eligible for New Jersey 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 Jersey. You are not eligible for New Jersey 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 Jersey 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 Jersey 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 Jersey COBRA insurance can be terminated for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons for termination of New Jersey COBRA insurance coverage is failure to pay premiums, termination of the group health insurance plan by the employer.
For help signing up for New Jersey COBRA insurance, you may consider contacting the following state agencies.
New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance
Consumer Assistance Services
P.O. Box 329
Trenton, NJ 08625
U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
New Jersey (northern)
New York Regional Office
33 Whitehall Street, Suite 1200
New York, NY 10004
New Jersey (southern)
Philadelphia Regional Office
170 S Independence Mall West, Suite 870 West
Philadelphia, PA 19106-3317
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I sign up for COBRA insurance if I only need insurance for a month?
As long as your new insurance will kick in within the 60 day window you have to elect to sign up for COBRA insurance, there is no need to sign up for COBRA insurance. The reason for this is that you elect to sign to sign up for COBRA insurance on the 60th day, your health insurance will be retroactive until the last day of your employment. That means that if for any reason you got sick or needed medical attention during the 60 days, you could then just pay the premium and be covered for those expenses. If you don't end up needing medical attention in those 60 days then you didn't waste the money paying for the two months of premiums. Essentially, you would actually never be without coverage, since you can activate it at any time within the 6o days and cover the full term.
Your other option would be to sign up for a short term health insurance plan, which can be anyway from 1 day to 1 year, at a much cheaper rate than COBRA. This would cover you for any major medical costs.
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.
What other options do I have if I don't qualify or want state sponsored COBRA insurance?
There are many other options for health insurance, many of which are less expensive than typical COBRA plans: Alternatives to COBRA.
Am I eligible for COBRA insurance if my company cancels their health insurance policy?
Unfortunately in most cases you will not be eligible for health insurance under COBRA insurance laws if your company stops providing health insurance. The reason is that COBRA insurance laws allow you to continue to receive your health insurance but if there is no health insurance to continue, then you are not able to keep insurance under COBRA. This means you will likely need to start exploring alternative health insurance options.
Does COBRA insurance qualify as creditable coverage?
Yes - electing to continue your health insurance coverage with COBRA insurance, will qualify as creditable coverage (under the HIPAA) law. Creditable coverage helps ensure that you are not excluded from a health insurance policy in the future due to a preexisting condition.
Can I continue COBRA insurance just for my spouse?
Yes. When you receive your COBRA insurance enrollment form, you will be able to choose you would like to sign up for COBRA insurance coverage. This means that you can pick and choose who will continue to be covered under the health insurance policy with COBRA. You can choose to just cover your spouse and find alternative insurance for yourself.
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.
Is it hard to find a new doctor if I sign up for COBRA insurance?
Since COBRA insurance is just the law that allows you to continue to maintain your group health insurance plan, finding a doctor will be the exact same as it was on the plan you had while you were working. Remember COBRA just allows you to keep that plan. This means that you can keep all the same doctors and finding a new doctor falls under the same restrictions as it did while you were employed.
Can my health insurance plan change while covered under COBRA insurance?
It can. Since COBRA insurance is a law that permits someone to continue to have their previous health insurance plan, any changes to that plan will also change your health insurance plan under COBRA insurance. You should be notified of any of these changes and you can drop the policy at any time or seek our COBRA insurance alternatives.
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.