Continuing Coverage with COBRA and Cal COBRA

What is COBRA and Cal-COBRA?

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a United States federal law that, among other things, requires employers of 20 or more employees to offer continuation of coverage to employees and their dependents when a qualifying event that results in the loss of group eligibility occurs.

Cal-COBRA is a California law that applies to employers with 2 to 19 employees, and employers with more than 20 employees, who have exhausted their federal COBRA.

Key facts:

  • Eligibility: Employers must notify employees about the right to continue coverage when a qualifying event occurs that results in the loss of group eligibilit
  • Duration: Depending on the qualifying event, COBRA and/or Cal-COBRA may last for up to 36 months.
  • Administration: Blue Shield neither provides nor administers federal COBRA services. All employers are responsible for administering their own federal COBRA program. Blue Shield administers Cal-COBRA when an employer is subject to it under state law.
  • Groups have the option to self-administer their federal COBRA benefits.
  • For instructions on how to administer your plan, please see Administrator Guides.
  • Deadline: Employees must sign up with the health plan within 60 days of receiving notice of eligibility for federal COBRA or Cal-COBRA.
  • Cost: For COBRA, employees are responsible for the entire cost, up to 102% of the group rate. For Cal-COBRA, the cost may range from 110% to 150% of the group rate.

Additional Information

For more information on Federal COBRA and Cal-COBRA, please visit the California Department of Managed Healthcare website.

Also check the Department of Labor's website for more information on federal COBRA.

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