Understand the requirements to qualify for COBRA insurance
Under the COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), the federal government set up specific eligibility requirements for people wanting to continue their health insurance coverage using COBRA. In order to be able to continue to use your previous employer’s group health insurance plan, you must be all three requirements set forth in the law.
The law also speaks to the COBRA insurance eligibility of spouses, children, and any other dependents and what events and requirements need to be present for them to qualify for COBRA insurance. Understanding these eligibility requirements will help you know if you can enroll in COBRA insurance. However, if at any point you are unsure if you and your family qualify for COBRA insurance you can always reach out to your former employer.
Under the federal COBRA insurance law, most employees are eligible to continue their health insurance coverage with COBRA if they:
Specifically, the COBRA insurance laws lay out three key conditions that qualify you and your family for COBRA insurance. These include the type of insurance plan provided by your company, the people eligible for coverage under the plan (i.e. spouses, children, and dependents), and the event that caused you to lose your health insurance. These three requirements are known under the COBRA insurance law as the qualifying plan, qualifying beneficiaries, and qualifying event. To receive COBRA insurance, you need to meet all three requirements. In order to receive COBRA insurance you must meet all three requirements.
To be eligible to continue COBRA insurance coverage, the group health insurance plan provided by your previous employee, must cover at least 20 employees or their part time equivalents for 50% of its normal business days. Your employer can tell you if the company plan qualifies and that is normally the easiest way to find out if you are not sure.
Fortunately, the federal COBRA insurance law, not only covers the employee but also any qualifying beneficiaries. This normally includes anyone who was previously covered, and could include new beneficiaries that can be added during open enrollment or due to a qualifying event (i.e. marriage, etc.) In most cases, this includes the covered employee, spouse, and dependent children. If you are a retiree, this usually includes the retiree, retiree’s spouse, or retiree’s dependent children. Depending on your plan agents, independent contractors, and directors who were previously part of your plan may also qualify for COBRA insurance, as well as their beneficiaries in most cases.
The final requirement, known as the qualifying event, refers to the manner in which you lost your health insurance coverage with your employer or as a beneficiary. This could include losing your job, being laid off, being terminated, quitting, retiring, or having your hours reduced. It is also important to now that qualifying events differ for each beneficiary. (i.e. spouses, children, etc.)