We know Medicare and COBRA insurance are challenging to understand individually. It’s important to know that COBRA is NOT creditable coverage for Medicare. Below we’ll discuss if you qualify for COBRA and Medicare, then go over the details about how COBRA is not considered creditable overage under Medicare.
How to Qualify for COBRA and Medicare
You may have both Medicare and COBRA, depending on which you had first. Let’s take a look to see if your situation applies to these scenarios.
You could be eligible for both Medicare and COBRA:
- If you already have COBRA when you enroll in Medicare, your COBRA insurance may discontinue.
- There is no Special Enrollment Period when COBRA ends.
- If you already have Medicare and then become eligible for COBRA, you must be allowed to enroll in COBRA unless you qualify for Medicare because of End-Stage Renal Disease. In this scenario, Medicare acts as the primary payer and COBRA as the secondary. You’ll want Part A and B.
- If you have End-Stage Renal Disease there is likely going to be a period when your employer group health plan will pay first, and Medicare will pay second. This is called the 30-month coordination period.
If you work beyond age 65 before retiring, no later than your 8th month on COBRA insurance you need Part B, even if your COBRA continues.
Waiting to enroll in Part B can result in penalties. If you delay too long, you may end up waiting months before you can enroll.
Know Your COBRA Rights
COBRA allows you to keep group coverage for a limited time, it’s a federal law that lets you keep your employer group coverage.
You May Qualify for COBRA if:
- Your employment is terminated
- You lose coverage as a dependent of the covered employee.
COBRA & Employers with Less than 20 Employees
Some states require insurers covering employers with fewer than 20 employees to let you keep your coverage for a limited time.
You should get a notice from your employer’s benefits administrator or the group health plan if you are getting COBRA rights (other than a divorce). The notice will tell you coverage is ending and will offer the right to elect COBRA continuation coverage.
Group coverage under COBRA Lasts up to 18 months
Group coverage under COBRA usually lasts up to 18 months, although some can be extended to 36 months under special circumstances.
Ask the benefits administrator or group health plan about your COBRA rights if:
- You find out your coverage has ended, and you didn’t get a notice.
- You get divorced.
Your employer must tell you if you’re eligible for COBRA
The employer must notify the plan administrator if you are eligible for COBRA because of one of these:
- The covered employee died.
- A covered employee lost their job.
- The covered employee became entitled to Medicare.
Once the plan administrator is notified, the plan will let you know you have the right to choose COBRA coverage.
The employee must tell the employer if they’re eligible for COBRA
The covered employee needs to tell the plan administrator if they qualify for COBRA because of one of these:
- You’ve become divorced or legally separated (court-issued separation decree) from the covered employee.
- You were a dependent child or dependent adult child who’s no longer a dependent.
You will need to tell the plan administrator about the change within 60 days of the change.
Call an Agent for Your Personalized Medicare Plan
Even if you are eligible for COBRA coverage, you may want to enroll in Medicare. Your Medicare plan options could provide even better benefits than those provided under your employer’s COBRA plan.
Your Medicare options are probably much more affordable than your COBRA coverage.
We are Medicare experts that will walk you through your Medicare options and help you find coverage that makes the most sense for you.
Give us a call at the number above to get your quote today. Or, fill out an online rate form to get your quote now!