How do I extend my COBRA beyond 18 months?

Asked by: Rodger Gibson IV  |  Last update: August 15, 2023
Score: 4.1/5 (29 votes)

If you are entitled to an 18 month maximum period of continuation coverage, you may become eligible for an extension of the maximum time period in two circumstances. The first is when a qualified beneficiary is disabled; the second is when a second qualifying event occurs.

Can COBRA be extended past 18 months?

Consumers may also extend COBRA continuation coverage longer than the initial 18-month period with a second qualifying event —e.g., divorce or death— up to an additional 18 months, for a total of 36 months.

Can COBRA last 36 months?

COBRA requires that continuation coverage extend from the date of the qualifying event for a limited period of 18 or 36 months. The length of time depends on the type of qualifying event that gave rise to the COBRA rights.

What is the maximum length that COBRA benefits may be extended?


This means your payment is often more expensive than what you paid as an employee. You can collect COBRA benefits for up to 18 months. This may be extended to 36 months under certain circumstances.

Is COBRA extension still in effect?

The President announced that in 2023, the National Emergency would be renewed only until May 11, 2023. The “pause” on COBRA payments and timeframes, along with the time period for HIPAA special enrollments and benefit claims and appeals, will reset 60 days after May 11, 2023, which is July 10, 2023.

How to Renew COBRA Health Insurance After 18 Months : COBRA Insurance

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What happens when your COBRA runs out?

Marketplace plans are a viable option after your COBRA runs out. Luckily, when your COBRA coverage expires, it counts as a qualifying event for a special enrollment period. The special enrollment period allows you to qualify for coverage after the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period has closed.

How does COBRA extension work?

When Federal COBRA ends, eligible employees can buy 18 months additional health coverage under Cal-COBRA. All qualified beneficiaries are generally eligible for continuation coverage for 36 months after the date the qualified beneficiary's benefits would otherwise have terminated.

How does COBRA work after termination?

(California passed a similar law known as “Cal-COBRA.”) Under COBRA, the group plan health insurance plan made available to terminated workers provides the exact same benefits as they would receive if they were still a member of the group, except that the employees have to pay the employer's cost of providing the ...

How long can you get COBRA after you quit your job?

COBRA coverage lets you pay to stay on your job-based health insurance for a limited time after your job ends (usually 18 months). You usually pay the full premium yourself, plus a small administrative fee.

What is the maximum time an employee can have for continuation of benefits under federal COBRA 12 months?

COBRA requires continuation coverage to last for 18 or 36 months after the date of the qualifying event. The length of time for which continuation coverage must be made available depends on the type of qualifying event. However, a plan may provide longer periods of coverage beyond what is required by law.

What is the grace period for COBRA payments?

Late Paying for Ongoing COBRA Health Insurance

But if you don't make your premium payment within the 30-day grace period, your coverage can be canceled permanently. You're still covered during the grace period, as long as you ultimately do end up making your payment by the end of the grace period.

What is the monthly grace period for COBRA?

COBRA continuation coverage may be terminated if we don't receive “timely payment” of the premium. What is the grace period for monthly COBRA premiums? After election and initial payment, qualified beneficiaries have a 30-day grace period to make monthly payments (that is, 30 days from the due date).

How can I avoid paying COBRA?

If you want to avoid paying the COBRA cost, go with a short-term plan if you're waiting for approval on another health plan. Choose a Marketplace or independent plan for broader coverage. Choose a high-deductible plan to keep your costs low.

Are COBRA premiums waived?

ARP COBRA Premium Assistance

Assistance Eligible Individuals are not required to pay their COBRA continuation coverage premiums. The premium assistance applies to periods of health coverage on or after April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.

How far back can COBRA be retroactive?

Once COBRA is elected, the enrollee has 45 calendar days from the date of election to pay all retroactive premiums to the plan or its designee. The retroactive premium payment is the premium to cover the period from the date of loss of coverage to the date of election.

Does COBRA extend to life insurance?

Life insurance is not considered “medical care,” nor are disability benefits. COBRA does not cover plans that provide only life insurance or disability benefits.

How long does my health insurance last after I quit my job?

If you have an employment-based insurance plan, coverage typically ends on your last day of work or the last day of the month in which you quit. You may be able to continue receiving coverage through your employer health plan with COBRA for 18 months or longer, but this option is often costly.

When you resign from a job what are you entitled to?

These benefits may include severance pay, health insurance, accrued vacation, overtime, unused sick pay, and retirement plans. Companies aren't obligated to provide severance. However, many employers do provide severance pay. Line up references before you leave.

Is COBRA cheaper than marketplace?

Benefits of Getting Coverage Through The Healthcare Insurance Marketplace (HIM) In general, COBRA tends to be more expensive than HIM plans. Even though you are eligible to receive the same insurance that you had through your employer, you are now responsible for paying the entire premium cost.

Does COBRA automatically cancel?

COBRA Coverage Periods

You are not locked into COBRA coverage and can cancel at any time within 18 months. You will likely want to drop COBRA once you become eligible for a different health plan, such as if you get another job. If you stop paying premiums, COBRA coverage will end automatically.

What is a second qualifying event for COBRA?

Second qualifying events may include the death of the covered employee, divorce or legal separation from the covered employee, the covered employee becoming entitled to Medicare benefits (under Part A, Part B or both), or a dependent child ceasing to be eligible for coverage as a dependent under the group health plan.

Can terminated employees receive COBRA?

For “covered employees,” the only qualifying event is termination of employment (whether the termination is voluntary or involuntary) including by retirement, or reduction of employment hours. In that case, COBRA lasts for eighteen months.

How do I access my COBRA account?

To access the COBRA portal, click on the Login button in the upper right hand corner of the website, then click "Members" from the dropdown menu. From the Member Login page, click the "COBRA Login" button and you will be directed to the COBRA portal page. Click on the New User Registration button.

Can you use COBRA more than once?

You May Only Use COBRA One Time For Each Qualifying Event That Stops Your Health Insurance. COBRA continuation lasts for up to 18 months (in some situations a dependent can continue for up to 36 months) and is available each time your employer-sponsored health insurance would end due to a qualifying event.

What is continued coverage under COBRA?

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, ...