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Are all family members required to enroll in COBRA or COBRA alternative coverage?

No, there is no requirement to enroll in COBRA or COBRA alternative health coverage. In all states except Massachusetts, individuals may legally elect to have no health coverage.

Each qualified beneficiary may independently elect COBRA or COBRA alternative coverage. A covered employee or the covered employee's spouse may elect COBRA or COBRA alternative coverage on behalf of all other qualified beneficiaries. A parent or legal guardian elects benefits on behalf of a minor child.

Often it makes sense to have some family members enroll in COBRA coverage and other family members enroll in COBRA alternatives. For example, suppose one family member is being treated for diabetes and the other family members are in good health with no pre-existing conditions. The diabetic should elect COBRA coverage and the other family members may find a better value in commercial short term medical insurance.

revised 3/1/09

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COBRAplan.com provides help with COBRA issues

COBRA continuation coverage may provide temporary protection when changing jobs, going through a divorce or negotiating other life transitions. Choosing the right health insurance is crucial to protect your health and financial security.