Qualifying Events

Several events may cause someone to be eligible for COBRA. If you, your spouse, or your dependents lose coverage under an employer’s plan due to one of the reasons listed below*, that’s a qualifying event. The type of qualifying event determines how long you can have COBRA coverage.

Qualifying Event Covered Person(s) Period of Coverage
Termination of Employment (voluntary or involuntary) for reasons other than gross misconduct
Reduction in Hours of Employment
Dependent Child
Up to 18 months
Divorce or Legal Separation
Death of the Covered Employee
Employee’s Entitlement to Medicare**
Dependent Child
Up to 36 months
Loss of Dependent Child Status Under the Plan Dependent Child Up to 36 months

* While the plan is subject to COBRA requirements.

** Typically, this will not be a qualifying event for spouses and⁄or dependent children of active employees due to the Medicare Secondary Payer Rules.

If you experience a qualifying event, you have some time to decide if you want to continue coverage under COBRA. Find out more details on our Electing Coverage page.

COBRA participants may need to participate in their former employer’s open enrollment process. Learn more on our Open Enrollment page.

Is your COBRA coverage about to expire? There are other coverage options that you might want to check out. Visit our Losing Coverage page.