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Who can receive benefits under COBRA?

If you are one of many Texans affected by job loss every year, your initial shock was likely followed quickly by fear of additional losses, including your benefits, home and maybe even your family. The uncertainty is a guarantee of sleepless nights and high stress levels for anyone. One thing that may give you a little ease is knowing that you do have an option for continued health benefits through the COBRA program.

Congress passed the federal Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act in 1986 as a means of offering group rates for temporary health coverage to workers who lose or leave a job. The employer no longer helps pay for the premium, however, leaving you to pick up the entire monthly payment. The payment is typically several times the cost of premiums for covered employees.

Businesses with 20 or more workers typically must offer COBRA benefits and notify you of its availability. These benefits apply to you and your spouse, as well as dependent children, provided they were all enrolled in your health care plan one day before employment ended.

COBRA options must be offered to you regardless of whether you were fired or resigned (except in cases involving extreme misconduct). They must also be offered when work hours have been reduced to part-time employment. Spouses and children are also entitled to COBRA benefits despite situations in which you die or:

  • No longer work full time
  • Become eligible for Medicare
  • Divorce or legally separate from your spouse

Additional provisions for continued COBRA health care coverage are that the benefits offered must be the same as those you were enrolled in at the time the job ends. COBRA coverage is also to be offered for 18 months. This information about COBRA and health benefits is general in nature, and should not replace the advice of an attorney.

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The Law Office of Jessica Taylor, PLLC

The Law Office of Jessica Taylor, PLLC
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