Know Your COBRA Insurance Rights
If you’ve lost your job, don’t panic yet about losing your health coverage, too. You could be eligible for the continuation of your benefits.
A federal law known as COBRA insurance (short for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985) provides a vital bridge between health plans for qualified workers, their spouses, and their dependent children when their health insurance might otherwise be cut off. Because of that security, COBRA insurance has been hailed as a much-needed safety net for families in the midst of crisis, such as unemployment, divorce, or death.
The new health care reform legislation, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, did not eliminate COBRA or change the COBRA rules. However, workers who are no longer receiving employee provided health care coverage may also purchase insurance through the health care insurance marketplace exchange.
Under COBRA, if you voluntarily resign from a job or are terminated for any reason other than “gross misconduct” you are guaranteed the right to continue your former employer’s group plan as individual or family health care coverage for up to 18 months at your own expense. In many cases, your spouse and dependent children are also eligible for COBRA coverage, sometimes for as long as three years. However, individual plans — that is, plans you buy on your own, rather than through work or an association — are not subject to COBRA law, and once you lose that coverage, you won’t be able to get an extension under COBRA.
If you need help understanding the COBRA regulations or have questions about whether to purchase insurance through COBRA or the exchanges, please contact Healthcare Consultants at 713-626-2838 or use our Contact Form.