To eligible for COBRA, you must have been enrolled in your employer's health plan when you worked and the health plan must continue to be in effect for active employees. COBRA coverage begins on the date when the health plan coverage would have been lost because of the termination. For most companies, this is the last day of the month following your termination, but you need to check this with your former company.
COBRA: If Your Company is Bankrupt
If your company closes or goes bankrupt and no longer maintains a health plan, there is no COBRA coverage. If, however, there is another plan offered by your company, then you may be covered under that plan.
COBRA: You Cannot Be Terminated For Gross Misconduct
Your termination must not be for gross misconduct. The COBRA legislation does not define gross misconduct, but the action must be more than simple negligence and incompetence. If you challenge termination for gross misconduct, you may sue for a denial of COBRA benefits. It is up to the courts to decide this.
COBRA: Employer Notice Requirements
You must be notified of your COBRA rights following your termination. If you are not, your former company will incur penalties. An employer has 30 days from date of termination to notify the plan administrator. The plan administrator generally has 14 days from the time they were notified of your termination to send you the COBRA election package. The enrollment package must be both timely and accurate, or it may result in a denial of your COBRA rights.
COBRA: 60 Days to Elect
You have 60 days to decide whether or not to elect COBRA. The election deadline is generally stated in your election package. If you waive COBRA during the election period, you can revoke the waiver before the election period ends.
COBRA: Talk to Attorney
The COBRA laws are very complex and it might be best not to go this alone. A consultation with an employment attorney may be advisable. Know your COBRA rights to protect yourself and your family's health!