What are COBRA benefits?
The federal law known as COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1985) requires employers to give qualified employees and their families who lose their health benefits the legal right to continue or extend insurance (continuation coverage) that otherwise might be terminated. The COBRA law usually applies to group health plans offered by companies with more than 20 employees. The purpose of COBRA is to protect the employee while looking for another job and/or health policy in the midst of crisis, such as unemployment or divorce. In general, three groups of people, known as beneficiaries, are eligible for COBRA continuation coverage: employees or former employees (retirees), their spouses, and their dependent children. Circumstances that trigger COBRA are known as “qualifying events.” A qualifying event must cause an individual to lose health insurance coverage. Events that trigger COBRA include voluntary or involuntary termination of employment (other than gross misconduct) or