By Elizabeth Davis, RN. Health Insurance Expert
As a Registered Nurse and freelance medical writer, Elizabeth has been helping people navigate the complexities of their health insurance and the healthcare system for more than 25 years.
Updated January 08, 2015.
Before the COBRA law, if you lost your job, you also lost your job-based health insurance. If you got divorced, you lost the coverage that was provided through your ex-spouse’s job.
When you lost this job-based coverage, if you had a pre-existing medical problem. you might not be able to find any other health insurance.
Thanks to COBRA, when these things happen now, you’re usually able to continue your current group health insurance coverage for 18-36 months. This gives you time to get back on your feet and figure out
what to do.
COBRA doesn’t apply to all types of health insurance, but only to job-based group health plans. Also, COBRA doesn’t apply under all situations. In order to be eligible for COBRA continuation coverage, you must have had a qualifying event.
Things like divorce, getting laid off, death of the spouse that provided the group health insurance, and getting too old to qualify for young-adult dependent coverage under a parent’s health plan are qualifying events.
Pros and Cons of COBRA Health Insurance
The good thing about COBRA health insurance is that you’ll have the same health insurance you had before. You won’t face underwriting or be charged more because of preexisting conditions. You can keep your same doctor, and you’ll pay the same coinsurance. deductible. and copayments you paid before.