You are eligible for COBRA if both of the following conditions apply:

  1. You are enrolled in job-based insurance (employer group health plan) where COBRA applies
  2. And, you have a “qualifying event” (such as termination of employment) that causes you to lose job-based insurance. The type of qualifying event also determines the length of COBRA coverage: See table below for details.
Qualifying Event Length of COBRA
Employee retires, is terminated, or has a reduction in work hours. 18 months
Employee develops a disability and has a reduction in work hours. 18 months
Employee develops a disability and is eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) during the initial 18-month COBRA period. 18 months + 11 months extra
Employee is terminated for gross misconduct. Not applicable
Employee’s spouse and dependent children lose job-based insurance because:

  • Employee becomes eligible for Medicare
  • Employee and spouse are divorced
  • Dependent child loses dependent child status
  • Employee dies
36 months

If you already have Medicare, you are still eligible for COBRA if you meet the conditions above. Be sure to know how COBRA and Medicare coordinate before making enrollment decisions.

Return to: Medicare Admin

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