Currently, federal COBRA only applies to group health plans and employers with at least 20 employees. Extended coverage is only available to employees who:
- Have their hours cut
- Voluntarily or involuntarily lose their jobs
- Change jobs
- Experience death, divorce or similar life events
While the individual retains health coverage for 18 months, he or she is required to continue paying premiums.
In California, a small company with two to 19 employees is able to keep employee benefits for as many as 36 months. Larger employers with at least 20 employees maintain medical coverage for 18 additional months after the federal COBRA coverage period expires. Under certain circumstances, such as divorce or death, federal COBRA can last as many as 36 months for a larger employer.
Those Who Aren’t Covered
It’s just as important to know who isn’t covered as it is to know who is covered. For both federal and California COBRA, individuals who are ineligible for enrolling include those who:
- Have other health plans
- Are either currently enrolled or have the option of enrolling in Medicare
- Were terminated for extreme misconduct
- Failed to pay their initial premiums on time
- Neglected to sign up for COBRA within 60 days after they were informed of the option to do so
Talk with your employer to make sure you’re covered by COBRA, and ask if there are any alternatives available if you aren’t.
To learn more about COBRA and your other options for quality health insurance, contact us today at 707-823-3689.