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Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.

What Happens to COBRA?

By on | 2 Comments

Question: What is the status of Cal-COBRA going forward? If my employer ends group coverage, will my COBRA abruptly end and would that be considered a qualifying event? Is the natural expiration of a COBRA (18 months) considered a qualifying event to purchase from the exchange outside of the enrollment dates?

Answer: The ACA did not eliminate COBRA or Cal-COBRA or change the existing rules. If you stay on COBRA until your coverage expires you will qualify for special enrollment outside of the open enrollment period. Likewise if your COBRA coverage ends for any other reason it will be considered a qualifying event.


I believe your answer needs some clarification. ACA makes no substantive changes to COBRA and nothing changes 1/1/14 or after. In the scenario above, COBRA would end if their group coverage is cancelled and everything you say is true, however, COBRA in general doesn’t go away. I agree with your line of thinking that the “need” for COBRA goes away…but that is a different thing.

Are you saying that Cal-Cobra will go away but that federal Cobra will stay? The DOL website says that PPACA does not eliminate Cobra or change it in any way. I agree that it doesn’t seem necessary for Cobra to continue once individuals can’t be declined on the individual market. But so far you are the only person I can find that says it will eventually go away.

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