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How To Apply For COBRA If You Stop Working

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Step 1: Employer Notice

Your employer or plan administrator must notify the health plan administrator (which is sometimes the employer) that a COBRA qualifying event has occurred within 30 days of the event. The plan then must notify you within 14 days of your right to continued coverage.

When you stop working (or know ahead of time that you are about to stop):

  • Ask your employer for the COBRA notice.
  • If your employer insists on mailing the notice to you:
    • Ask for a date when to expect the notice.
    • Make note of the date
    • If you don't receive the notice, follow up with your employer and, if there is one, the Plan Administrator.

Step 2: Employee Notice to Employer or Plan Administrator

You must notify the employer or plan administrator that you want to continue health coverage within 60 days after the date you stopped working or the date you're notified of your rights, whichever is later.

Step 3: Pay the first premium

You have up to 45 days after giving the COBRA enrollment form to your employer or plan administrator to make the first premium payment, which includes premiums back to the date when the regular group coverage ended. 

Step 4: If you are "Disabled" when you stop work

Start looking at the requirements for a "disability" as defined by Social Security for purposes of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) even if you don't think you're going to need COBRA beyond the initial 18 months. 

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