The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1986 gives workers and their families who lose health benefits, the right to continue insurance for a limited amount of time. To qualify for extension of benefits under COBRA one of the following must apply to your situation:
Voluntary or involuntary job loss
Reduction in the number of hours worked
Transition between jobs
Other life events
Those who qualify may be required to pay the entire premium up to 102 percent of the cost of the plan. The extra two percent covers the administrative costs. For disabled beneficiaries, the premium may be increased after 18 months to 150 percent of the plan's total cost for the last 11 months of coverage.
Group plans that are subject to COBRA laws are plans maintained by private sector employers with 20 or more employees and plans sponsored by state and local governments. However, the laws do not apply to the Federal government and certain church-related organizations.
People who qualify for COBRA coverage must be offered the same benefits as they received before applying for a continuation of coverage.
Department of Labor (DOL)
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has several pages and links available on its web site regarding COBRA coverage.
Employee Benefits Security Administration
The Employee Benefits Security Administration website contains information on COBRA laws. It also discusses related topics that are helpful to employers and information on Medicare and HIPPA.
Disability Benefits 101
Disability Benefits 101, supported by the World Institute on Disability, has comprehensive information on your rights and benefits under COBRA.