COBRA

  • A long-standing federal law that makes it mandatory for employees, who work for all but the smallest employers, be given the option to continue their group insurance, upon leaving the job for whatever reason, for a certain period of time—typically 18 months (29 months if you are disabled) —at your expense. 
  • Many states have extended COBRA benefits to small employers as well. Check with your state insurance department.
  • When your COBRA option ends (or if you're never eligible for COBRA), you're then eligible to continue coverage under the newer Federal HIPAA law.
  • Usually, if you have Parkinson’s, your best option when leaving a job, is to first elect the COBRA option and then later the HIPAA option because you don’t have to qualify medically for either.
  • However if you are married and your spouse has their own job and their own group health coverage, you generally have the right under the law, if you apply within 30 days of losing your group coverage, to be added to your spouse’s coverage with no exclusion for preexisting medical problems.

Content for this section provided by Jack Hungelmann, who has had PD since 1996.

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