Administration Eases Rules to Give Laid-Off Workers More Time to Sign Up for COBRA | Kaiser Health News

Under the federal law known as COBRA, people who lose their job-based coverage because of a layoff or a reduction in their hours generally have 60 days to decide whether to continue their health insurance. But under the new rule, that clock doesn’t start ticking until the end of the COVID-19 “outbreak period,” which started March 1 and continues for 60 days after the COVID-19 national emergency ends. That end date hasn’t been determined yet.

By extending the time frame to sign up for COBRA coverage, people have at least 120 days to decide whether they want to elect COBRA, and possibly longer depending on when they lost their jobs. Take the example of someone who was laid off in April, and imagine that the national emergency ends Aug. 31. Sixty days after that date takes the person to the end of October. Then the regular 60-day COBRA election period would start after that.

So, under this example, someone whose employer coverage ended at the beginning of May could have until the end of December to make a decision about whether to sign up for COBRA, with coverage retroactive to the beginning of May.

Source: Administration Eases Rules to Give Laid-Off Workers More Time to Sign Up for COBRA | Kaiser Health News

One comment

  1. I don’t know all the technicalities or the difference between layoffs, furloughs, and unemployment, but I think this is actually the right thing to do. My son-in-law got told to stay home with pay in March. Than he was “furlough” sometime in May, still with benefits. He was told that he will lose his benefits on August 1st but still being furlough. If he gets laid off, then he loses his seniority too should his casino ever be able to fully reopen.
    Logically to me it seems like that he should start his COBRA on August 1st. But I can see were some employers would try to game the system and deny him CORBA say that he should have started back in March or May. Some employers just like avoid paying benefits.
    Lucky for him, his wife found a job in May after getting “furlough” in March and will start getting benefits on August 1st.


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