What is deadline for filing to get cobra insurance coverage after job loss?

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Asked May 16, 2011

1 Answer


Federal law dictates who is eligible under COBRA, and for how long they are eligible. Within 14 days of a qualifying event, such as losing your employment, the administrator for your employer must notify you either in person or in writing of your COBRA eligibility. During the same period, your health insurance provider may choose to extend your coverage beyond the requirements of COBRA.

Once you have been notified that you qualify for COBRA, you have at least 60 days to decide whether to continue using COBRA. If you choose to do so, you will be responsible for paying the full cost of your health insurance, including any portion of the premiums previously paid by the employer. This means that your health insurance may be significantly more expensive, but it will still be far less costly than paying for medical expenses out of pocket.

At the discretion of your health insurance provider, you may be eligible to sign up under COBRA for an extended period of time. While the federal government stipulates a mandatory eligibility of 60 days, many insurance companies offer 90 to 120 days of eligibility. Once accepted for coverage, COBRA will only extend your existing health insurance for a limited amount of time, usually 6 months but extendable up to a year in many instances. COBRA is intended to prevent to unexpected loss of coverage by qualifying events, and is not intended to replace regular health insurance. If you want to maintain health insurance, you will have to find an alternate source of coverage before the COBRA insurance expires.

Answered May 16, 2011 by Anonymous

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