If you work for a company with more than 20 employees, you will be eligible for COBRA continuation coverage in the event that you must leave your job. COBRA is the acronym for the Federal law passed in 1986 giving you the right to continue your health coverage when you lose your health coverage because of a “Qualifying Event.” Qualifying events include termination of employment and reduction in hours. Any NY disability lawyer will tell you that COBRA is an essential piece of the insurance puzzle.
Under COBRA, an individual who suffers a termination of employment is entitled to continued coverage for 18 months. In the event that such an individual is determined to be disabled under the Social Security Act, the continuation health coverage is for 29 months. Your health insurance company will be able to tell you your specific health coverage.
When you terminate employment, your employer is required to furnish you with a COBRA notice. The notice must inform you of your rights under COBRA and specify the monthly cost of your coverage. Under COBRA, the premium cost of the coverage is yours, even if your employer paid your premium while you were employed. The employer may in fact charge you an additional 2% over your premium charge to cover their administrative expenses.
When you receive your COBRA notice you must act quickly to retain your health coverage. COBRA gives you up to 60 days after you receive the notice to elect health coverage. If you fail to timely elect coverage, you will lose your right to coverage. Read your notice carefully and make sure that you comply with all time requirements.
In the event your employer had less than 20 employees, you are not entitled to COBRA continuation coverage. You may, however, be entitled to similar coverage under state law. Many states offer this type of continuation health coverage. It is usually described in the policy.
Check your policy. After COBRA continuation coverage ends, in many states you are able to convert your policy into an individual policy. These requirements are usually described in the policy. Check your policy. Please note that under a conversion policy the insurer is not necessarily required to charge the same premium.