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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.

Spouse Eligible for COBRA?

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Question: I will be retiring at age 66 in February but will need to work part time as a self employed freelance electrical estimator. I will have Medicare, but my wife is only 63 years of age. The question is can she pick up the cobra plan for the spouse thru my company even though I will be retired and self employed.

Answer: (Corrects previous response) Yes. Your wife is eligible for COBRA continuation. She can also purchase individual health insurance any time after December 15th for coverage effective February 1st 2015.


I don’t think that is correct. Every member of the family who was enrolled in the employer sponsored plan is eligible for COBRA even if the employee does not enroll. Unless the ACA has changed the COBRA law, this is how it has always been.

This response is not accurate. One of the six defined COBRA continuation qualifying events is an employee’s termination of group coverage in favor of Medicare. The spouse (and any children under age 26) have up to 36 months of continuation available.

Having said that, it is important to compare benefits and premiums with the available on- and off-exchange health plans. Some benefit-rich group plans are quite costly, yet a gold or platinum plan can provide highly comparable benefits, possibly at a lower cost, with or without Premium Tax Credits.

This is not true. Dependents have individual COBRA election rights regardless if the ex-employee enrolls. However depending on length of the COBRA available, she may still need to enroll on an individual plan to bridge the gap until Medicare.

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