- COBRA is a federal law that may let you keep your employer group health plan coverage for a limited time after one of these:
- Your employment ends
- You lose coverage as a dependent of the covered employee
This is called "continuation coverage."
- In general, COBRA only applies to employers with 20 or more employees. However, some states require insurers covering employers with fewer than 20 employees to let you keep your coverage for a limited time.
- In most situations that give you COBRA rights (other than a divorce), you should get a notice from your employer's benefits administrator or the group health plan. The notice will tell you your coverage is ending and offer you the right to elect COBRA continuation coverage.
- COBRA coverage generally is offered for 18 months (36 months in some cases). Ask the employer's benefits administrator or group health plan about your COBRA rights if:
- You find out your coverage has ended and you don't get a notice
- You get divorced
- The employer must tell the plan administrator if you qualify for COBRA because of one of these:
- The covered employee died
- The covered employee lost his/her job
- The covered employee became entitled to Medicare
Once the plan administrator is notified, the plan must let you know you have the right to choose COBRA coverage.
- You or the covered employee needs to tell the plan administrator if you qualify for COBRA because of one of these:
- You've become divorced or legally separated (court-issued separation decree) from the covered employee
- You were a dependent child or dependent adult child who's no longer a dependent
You'll need to tell the plan administrator about your change in situation within 60 days of the change.
- Before you elect COBRA, talk with your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) about Part B and Medigap.
Get answers to COBRA questions
Call your employer’s benefits administrator for questions about your specific COBRA options.
- If you have questions about Medicare and COBRA, call the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) at 1-855-798-2627 (TTY: 1-855-797-2627).
- If your group health plan coverage was from a private employer (not a government employer), contact the Department of Labor.
- If your group health plan coverage was from a state or local government employer, call the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at 1-877-267-2323 extension 61565.
- If your coverage was with the federal government, visit the Office of Personnel Management.