What Is Cobra?

Cobra stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (29 U.S.C. 1162). COBRA is a federal law that givers workers the right to continue their group health benefits under the employer's plan for a limited period of time in certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events. Qualified individuals may be required to pay the entire premium for coverage up to 102 percent of the cost to the plan. Coverage continues for up to 18 months after the final date of employment, providing that the employer continues offering its group health plan during that time.  It covers individuals and their beneficiaries, spouses, dependents, etc. There are certain organizations that are exempt from COBRA rules, e.g. church plans and small businesses (less than 20 employees).

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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