COBRA FAQs

The monthly premium rates depend on the Plan(s) you were enrolled in at the time of termination of your coverage. The amount of the premium due is included in the COBRA Election Notice sent by the Trust after a qualifying event has occurred. 

Call the Administrative Office to verify the receipt of your COBRA payment. 

The duration of COBRA coverage depends on the reason for termination of eligibility. For example, if the loss of coverage is due to a lack of hours worked; COBRA coverage lasts up to 18 months. COBRA coverage for a divorce or a death, however, is up to a maximum of 36 months. For more information on how long you can pay COBRA, refer to your Summary Plan Description booklet or contact the Administrative Office.

As a result of health care reform (the Affordable Care Act; commonly referred to as “Obamacare”), health care coverage is available to most individuals and families through the Health Insurance Marketplace. We recommend participants losing coverage under the Trust check out the coverage available to them through the Marketplace as an alternative to enrolling in the Trust’s COBRA continuation coverage. 

The Marketplace offers “one-stop shopping” to find and compare private health insurance options.  In the Marketplace, you could be eligible for a new kind of tax credit that lowers your monthly premiums and cost-sharing reductions (amounts that lower your out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments) right away, and you can see what your premium, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs will be before you make a decision to enroll. Through the Marketplace you’ll also learn if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage from Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  You can access the Marketplace for your state at www.HealthCare.gov.

Coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace may cost less than COBRA continuation coverage. Being offered COBRA continuation coverage won’t limit your eligibility for coverage or for a tax credit through the Marketplace. 

If you sign up for COBRA continuation coverage, you can switch to a Marketplace Plan during a Marketplace Open Enrollment period. You can also end your COBRA continuation coverage early and switch to a Marketplace Plan if you have another qualifying event such as marriage or birth of a child through something called a “special enrollment period.”  But be careful though—if you terminate your COBRA continuation coverage early without another qualifying event, you’ll have to wait to enroll in the Marketplace coverage until the next Open Enrollment period, and could end up without any health coverage in the interim. 

Once you’ve exhausted your COBRA continuation coverage and the coverage expires, you’ll be eligible to enroll in the Marketplace coverage through a special enrollment period, even if the Marketplace Open Enrollment has ended. For more information go to www.HealthCare.gov.

Please Note:

  1. If you sign up for the Marketplace coverage instead of COBRA continuation coverage, you cannot switch to COBRA continuation coverage under any circumstances. 
  2. If you do not submit a completed Election Form and remit payments according to the due dates stipulated in your COBRA notice, you will lose your right to elect COBRA continuation coverage.
  3. If you elect COBRA continuation coverage but later you decide to drop it, you cannot re-enroll in COBRA continuation coverage at a later date.  

One of the changes required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the “individual shared responsibility” provision, which requires that just about everyone have a minimum level of coverage or pay a penalty starting on January 1, 2014. Your health insurance coverage can come from your (or your spouse’s) employment, through a policy you buy on your own, or through a government-sponsored program like Medicare or Medicaid. Information on the individual shared responsibility provision can be found on the following websites:

“Questions and Answers on the Individual Shared Responsibility Provision”

“Individual Shared Responsibility Provision—Calculating the Payment”

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