Using COBRA to Keep Your Health Insurance
You may be able to keep health insurance for yourself and your family during a period of unemployment. COBRA has very specific requirements. Talk to your company's human resources department for details on how your employer handles the transition to COBRA coverage.
To be eligible for COBRA insurance:
- You must have been enrolled in your company's health plan while employed. Furthermore, the plan must continue to operate after you are no longer employed.
- You must elect to take COBRA coverage once you have been notified that you are eligible by the later of the 60th day after the written notice is sent or the day your health coverage ceases under the company's health plan. If you fail to respond, you and your family will lose your right to COBRA benefits.
- You must pay the premium that you were already paying plus the amount that was paid by the company. There may be additional administrative fees—possibly up to 2% of your premium. Even if this seems high, you are still paying group premiums instead of individual premiums, which are usually higher.
- You must pay the full premium on time. Failure to make your full payment on time will result in termination of health insurance. Generally, you will not be able to recover coverage by making the payment after your coverage was terminated.
For more information visit the website for the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA): www.dol.gov/ebsa. The EBSA is charged with protecting the integrity of pensions, health plans, and other employee benefits.