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FAQ54: What is COBRA Insurance?

COBRA is a government mandated program that requires your employer to keep you insured with you paying 102% of the employer's cost. The 2% is for the employer's administrative expense.

The length of time that the employer must maintain your coverage will vary depending on which category you are in. There are three different categories:

Up to 18 months for covered employees, as well as their spouses and their dependents, when workers otherwise would lose coverage because of a termination or reduction of hours.

Up to 29 months is available to employees who are determined to have been disabled at any time during the first 60 days of COBRA coverage and applies as well to the disabled employee's nondisabled qualified beneficiaries.

Up to 36 months for spouses and dependents facing a loss of employer-provided coverage due to an employee's death, a divorce or legal separation, or certain other "qualifying events."

If you get other group coverage by changing to another job, COBRA would be terminated at hat time.

Although the employer must provide you the coverage it is entirely up to you if you want to keep it. If you are going on Medicare you may only need a supplemental policy to cover what Medicare does not. The employer's rules may require you to keep the insurance as is but you don't have the obligation.

I suggest that you check out a website for more information on COBRA. After doing so, make an appointment with the Human Resources Dept. at your old place of employment and discuss your options and see if they will offer you any recommendations.

The web site is: www.cobrainsurace.com

Good luck,

Sydney Gartenberg
Bloomfield Hills, MI

PS: Please be aware that the above description of the varying benefit periods available was taken verbatim from http://www.cobrainsurance.com/ without my bothering to give them proper credit.

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