COBRA Coverage & Cal-COBRA

If you are losing your job-based group employee coverage, you may be entitled to enroll in COBRA continuation coverage. The rates for COBRA are often quite high and you may be able to enroll in the ACA marketplace or other qualified coverage that may be more affordable for you. This is especially the case if you qualify for premium financial assistance. Losing group employer coverage is considered a Qualifying Event and would entitle you to a Special Enrollment Election Period. You would then have 60 days from the date of losing your group coverage to enroll in a new individual plan without having to wait for the Annual Open Enrollment Period.

Keep in mind that if you elect to take COBRA continuation coverage and then terminate it later on before it's expiration date, this action would not qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period to take other outside coverage, so it is good to thoroughly analyze whether taking COBRA is the right choice in the first place

Cal-COBRA

The California Continuation Benefits Replacement Act (Cal-COBRA) is a program in California that is similar to the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) that can run in place of Federal COBRA for certain employees or extend the benefits offered by the Federal program for an additional period of time.

While Federal COBRA typically applies to employers with 20 or more employees, Cal-COBRA applies to employers and group health plans in California that cover from just two to 19 employees. Federal COBRA generally offers coverage for up to 18 months (with some exceptions), but Cal-COBRA offers coverage for an additional period of time, extending this period to up to 36 months total.

It is recommended that when you experience a loss of any type of coverage, it is usually best to consult with a qualified health benefits professional, since there are numerous factors to consider from a legal, tax, financial assistance, and coverage benefits standpoint.

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