What Is COBRA Continuation Health Coverage and What Does It Do?

An Employee Benefits FAQ with M. Thomas Langan II.

COBRA continuation coverage requires employers under certain conditions to offer temporary continuation health coverage to qualified beneficiaries upon the occurrence of a qualifying event. If your company is subject to COBRA, then upon a qualifying event, which with some caveats includes termination of employment or reduction in hours, then your company is required to give notice and offer temporary medical coverage to qualified beneficiaries, which generally includes the subject employee, the subject employee’s spouse or former spouse and dependent children.

During this continuation period, you are not obligated to pay for the premiums of the qualified beneficiary, you are just obligated to provide the coverage.

The continuation period generally lasts from 18-36 months, depending on the given situation.

COBRA does not apply to all employers but rather to state and local public agencies and employers with 20 or more employees, although states are free to reduce this number.

© 2014 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

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