Continuing Your Medical Coverage with COBRA

If your employer-sponsored group coverage ends, you may be able to continue your group coverage for a limited time under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). The act applies to employers with 20 or more employees, but doesn’t apply to employees of the federal government.

COBRA requires employers to inform their qualified former employees and/or their families of their right to continue employer-sponsored group coverage. Qualified individuals may extend coverage for 18, 29, or 36 months, depending on their situation. Individuals are responsible for paying the total dues for their coverage plus an additional 2 percent for administrative costs. COBRA members with a disability who extend coverage for 29 months may be required to pay up to 150 percent of the dues for the 19th month through the 29th month. Check with your employer or group for information about your monthly COBRA dues.

Note: As an employer, the federal government is exempt from COBRA but includes provisions for Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC), which offers options similar to COBRA. For more information including eligibility, please review the U.S. Office of Personnel Management website. As of January 1, 2011, HMSA’s Plan for Federal Employees now covers dependent children until age 26. Parents no longer have to enroll their children into the TCC plan for dependent children under 26.

For additional important information on COBRA, we encourage you to read: