COBRA gives you the right to keep the health insurance you had from an employer if:
- You lost your job.
- You quit your job.
- Your hours were reduced so you no longer were eligible for your employer’s insurance.
- You have a gap as you leave a job and start a new one.
- You lost coverage because the covered employee started on Medicare.
- You’ve had some other event that led to you losing your health insurance.
COBRA is also available to spouses, former spouses, and dependent children.
You have 60 days to decide if you want to continue your coverage through COBRA. If you do, your monthly premium will be more than what was taken out of your paycheck. That's because you also have to pay the part your employer paid for. You may also pay a 2% administrative fee. Added together, this may be more than double what you used to pay as an employee for the same benefits.
Under COBRA, you get the same coverage you had before. That means what you pay for a doctor's appointment or prescription is the same as it was when you were employed.
In general, you can stay on COBRA no longer than 18 months.