The maximum length of COBRA coverage the employer will offer depends upon the qualifying event. For termination of employment or reduction in hours, 18 months is the maximum coverage period (24 months for active military personnel).184 For death of the employee, divorce or legal separation, a child’s loss of dependent status under the plan, or an employee’s entitlement to Medicare, the maximum coverage period is 36 months.185 Typically, COBRA coverage will begin on the date of the triggering event. The 18-month period may be extended for an additional 11 months for a total of 29 months (the “disability extension”) if a qualified beneficiary is or becomes disabled within 60 days of the qualifying event. The 18-month maximum coverage period can also be extended by multiple qualifying events.186
CREDITS: This is an excerpt from An Employer’s Guide to Employment Issues in Minnesota, provided by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development & Linquist & Vennum P.L.L.P., Tenth Edition, 2009. Copies are available without charge from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Small Business Assistance Office.
This post is also part of a series of posts covering the Continuation of Group Health and Life Insurance Coverage Law (COBRA). This information is not legal advice. You should consult with an experienced employment attorney before dealing with COBRA-related employment issues.
184 29 U.S.C. § 1162(2)(A); 26 U.S.C. § 4980B(f)(2)(B)(i); 42 U.S.C. § 300bb-2(2)(A).
185 29 U.S.C. § 1162(2)(A); 26 U.S.C. § 4980B(f)(2)(B)(i); 42 U.S.C. § 300bb-2(2)(A).
186 29 U.S.C. § 1162(2)(A); 26 U.S.C. § 4980B(f)(2)(B)(i); 42 U.S.C. § 300bb-2(2)(A).