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Can COBRA be extended beyond 18 months?

 


October 4, 2011


Our guest asks:

Our COBRA coverage ends soon. Can COBRA be extended beyond 18 months? If not, what other options are available?

OnlineAdviser responds:

This is surprisingly one of the most frequent questions we receive at OnlineAdviser. It is surprising because only a relative few people use COBRA coverage and, on average, individuals who purchase their own health insurance change policies about every 11 months. A need for coverage beyond 18 months would presumably be rare. Yet apparently for those who do need COBRA coverage and can afford to pay for it, the need sometimes extends for longer periods of time.

The direct answer is that there are specific (but rare) circumstances that allow COBRA to be extended beyond 18 months. Rather than repeat these details here, see more information on this topic at COBRAplan.com.

Since these circumstances are so rare and COBRA normally expires at the end of the 18 month period, it may be useful to review the options available. These vary based on state law and specific circumstances but OnlineAdviser is available to review these options on an individual basis.

 

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OnlineAdviser and OnlineNavigator services respond to consumer questions in a range of published media. Effective July 1, 2012 all questions about health insurance are governed by the terms and conditions of OnlineNavigator.org and other consumer finance questions are handled through OnlineAdviser.org although the two services may otherwise be referred to interchangeably in this Web site and other publications. Selected questions and responses related to health insurance are republished here to help others with the same issues. Privacy is protected; personal information is removed prior to publication. These services are provided without charge on a best-efforts basis.
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Freedom Benefits is independently owned and operated by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these official resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the other commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.