Comprehensive COBRA Insurance Information

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Understanding COBRA Insurance

Find the information you have been looking for on COBRA health insurance

What is COBRA Insurance?

  • A federal law that allows employees and their dependents to maintain their employer sponsored health insurance plan
  • A temporary health insurance option for people and who recently lost, quit, or retired from their jobs
  • A temporary health insurance option for people going through a divorce or legal separation if they are on their former spouse's health insurance plan
  • A temporary health insurance option for children who are losing their dependent status

Who is Eligible for COBRA Insurance?

To be eligible for federal COBRA insurance there are three requirements that a person must fulfill:

  • Qualifying Plan
  • Qualifying Event
  • Qualifying Beneficiary

Qualifying Plan

Qualifying plan is the type of health insurance plan that the covered employee had with their employer. To be eligible for COBRA insurance that plan must:

  • Insure at least 20 full time employees or their part time equivalents
  • Be active at the former employer. If the business closed or stopped offering health insurance, you do not qualify for COBRA insurance coverage

Qualifying Event

Qualifying event is how the employee or family member lost their health insurance coverage. You are eligible for COBRA if:

  • The covered employee quit, lost, or retired from their job without gross misconduct
  • The covered employee's hours were reduced and they no longer qualify for insurance
  • You are getting divorced or legally separated from the covered employee
  • You are losing dependent status as a child, usually at age 26
  • The covered employee passed away

Qualifying Beneficiary

Qualifying beneficiaries is who is eligible for COBRA insurance under the federal law. To meet this requirement you:

  • Are the covered employee
  • Are a spouse or dependent of the covered employee
  • Were on the health insurance plan before coverage ended

How Long Does COBRA Last?

The length of coverage for COBRA insurance is determined by the federal government. In most cases, COBRA insurance lasts 18 months.

In some instances if there is a second qualifying event, COBRA insurance may be extend to 36 months.

How Much Does COBRA Cost?

The cost of COBRA insurance is based on how much your full monthly premium cost plus a 2% administration fee. To determine the cost of COBRA you can:

  • Locate the monthly cost of your health insurance including your contribution and what your employer paid and add those together
  • Add a 2% administration fee

What If I Can't Afford COBRA?

Given the average cost for a family of four is over $1000 monthly for COBRA insurance, most people can't afford it. Other options include:

  • Private health insurance - save over 65%!
  • State of federal health insurance programs
  • Free or low cost community health plans

Private Health Insurance Plans

Individual Family
COBRA $600 $1,084
Individual or Family Health Insurance $231 $420
Catastrophic Insurance $100 $180
Short Term Health Insurance $120 $216
High Deductible Health Insurance $51 $92
Based on a healthy individual or family in 2010. The plan you choose will likely vary from this based on age, gender, health status, location, as well as chosen co-payments, deductibles, etc.

Next Steps

  • Determine if you qualify for COBRA insurance
  • Figure out your monthly COBRA cost
  • Get free quotes for health insurance to compare the cost
  • Sign up for the health insurance plan that is right for you

COBRA Insurance Basics

COBRA can be confusing but it doesn't have to be. Start with the basics about COBRA health insurance and understand your options.

COBRA Insurance Deadlines

COBRA health insurance laws have very specific deadlines for employees, family members, and employees that must be followed to get insured.

Why COBRA is So Expensive?

COBRA insurance costs the average family over $1000 monthly. Find out why COBRA is so expensive and how you can save money.

COBRA Insurance Rules

To get COBRA medical insurance for you and your family, there are many requirements you must fulfill under the federal COBRA law.

How Do I Get COBRA Insurance?

Learn what steps you must take in order to sign up for COBRA health insurance and find out how to save money by exploring alternatives.

COBRA Insurance for Employers

Employers must follow very strict guidelines regarding COBRA or they face very highs fines from the IRA and Department of Labor.

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