This Open Enrollment 2017, you will need to plan a little ahead of time for all the unknown situations that may arise. In case you are on an employer-based plan, you should always keep some cash away for COBRA. It will help you take care of your healthcare needs in case any untoward incident happens.

What is COBRA?

To understand COBRA, you need to understand the employment status and its various nuances. The following 7 situations that we discuss in this blog will help decide about COBRA coverage. COBRA is not mandatory. However, if you have a COBRA, you are better covered under some sort of health insurance plan, even when you are no longer under your employer’s health insurance coverage umbrella.

However, you do need to be aware of the following COBRA Health Insurance facts:

Fact 1- This is a federal law where you are entitled to enjoy your employer-based health insurance policy for at least 18 months after you have lost coverage. The event could be- you lost your job, your employer closed the firm, your spouse and you divorced and you were under his employer-based family plan.

COBRA is also called “continuation coverage”.

Fact 2- Generally, COBRA is effective only for firms having 20 or more employees. Of course, there are some states where you can apply for COBRA even if you have employee count less than 20.

Fact 3- In many situations, you will get a notice from the benefits administrator or your group health plan that mentions your plan is coming to an end and you can get COBRA immediately after you get the notice. This situation is however not applicable for divorce cases.

Fact 4- In case you are entitled to COBRA coverage, either because your employer died, or you resigned, or you are above 65 and hence entitled to Medicare, your employer has to inform the administrator. Once your plan administrator comes to know about your new situation, you will be entitled to COBRA plans.

Fact 5- The time for COBRA is generally 18 and 36 months. In case of you not receiving a notice and your coverage has come to an end, your plan administrator must notify you that you are entitled to COBRA rights.

Fact 6- Get to talk to your State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) before you select COBRA coverage.

Fact 7- In case you are COBRA qualified and you are legally divorced from the employee coverage or you are under a parental plan and have covered the age of 26 and can no longer remain on your parents’ plans, you need to let the plan administrator know about the situation within 60 days.

So, this Open enrollment 2017, give the above options a thought when you get to know about your employer’s group health insurance. One of the most important fact about COBRA is- you will have to contribute your employer’s share of premium once you enter the plan.

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