What is COBRA, and what does it mean to me?
In 1986, Congress passed the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) health benefit provisions. The law amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Internal Revenue Code and the Public Health Service Act to provide continuation of group health coverage that otherwise might be terminated.
COBRA contains provisions giving certain former employees, retirees, spouses, former spouses, and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates. This coverage, however, is only available when coverage is lost due to certain specific events. Group health coverage for COBRA participants is usually more expensive than health coverage for active employees, since usually the employer pays a part of the premium for active employees while COBRA participants generally pay the entire premium themselves.
You and your qualified dependents may enroll in the COBRA program within 60 days of losing earned eligibility. COBRA coverage is identical to the coverage provided to participants with earned eligibility under each respective plan, except COBRA participants are not entitled to life insurance or accidental death and dismemberment benefits. The COBRA program will provide coverage to participants for up to 18 months (in some cases up to 36 months).
For COBRA premium information, visit the premiums page.
Annual Open Enrollment
If you are enrolled in COBRA coverage, your benefit period is January 1 through December 31 and your open enrollment period will generally occur from December 1 through January 15. During open enrollment, you will have an opportunity to change your dependent enrollment by using your Benefits Manager.