COBRA Insurance Expansion Due To COVID-19

Those laid off in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic have had significant challenges, most notably with their healthcare. Due to a recent federal rule, these individuals will now have more time to decide whether or not to hang on to their employer-sponsored health insurance. The rule change ultimately will give laid-off workers more time to sign up for COBRA insurance.

COBRA Expansion

COBRA insurance gives people in certain situations an option to keep workplace health insurance for a while longer if they can’t get coverage in other ways. Usually, those who lose their job coverage because of a layoff or reduction in hours have 60 days to decide if they want to continue with the same health plan. The ruling from the federal government that arrived this spring, however, extends from March 1st until 60 days after COVID-19 national emergency is declared to be at an end. Those deciding between keeping their coverage or not through COBRA will have at least 120 days to decide.

Paying Your Own Job Sponsored Plan

However, the extension brought by COBRA is only available for those who worked at companies with 20 or more employees and who had employer-sponsored coverage before being laid off or furloughed. Those who are uninsured, self-employed, or who work for small companies do not have this privilege. Even if you are eligible, COBRA can be pricey. Workers must pay both the portion paid by employees and any portion paid by the employer, plus an additional 2% for administrative costs.

Should You Wait?

So, should you play the waiting game when deciding on COBRA due to the extension? Probably not due to the fact the amount of time to complete paperwork as well as process it before you will need medical care. Waiting too long can also make you ineligible for a SEP (special enrollment period) that allows you to sign up for new coverage on or your state insurance marketplace.

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