What benefits are covered under COBRA? What benefits are covered under COBRA alternatives?

COBRA coverage provides benefits that are identical to those of regular employees who covered by the health plan. Unless the employer has changed its health plan for all employees, the benefits are the same as before the COBRA election. COBRA participants are allowed to make the same choices as regular participants, such as during periods of open enrollment by the plan.

COBRA alternatives provide a lower levels of benefits than were available under the employer health plan and coverage is usually not provided for pre-existing medical conditions. COBRA alternative benefits are notably lower or completely absent for maternity expenses, for example. Specific description of benefits is available from each health plan provider. OnlineAdviser publishes a number of review articles and other materials that compare benefits of various COBRA alternatives.

COBRA alternatives plans are not HMO managed care plans so they provide the ability to use any medical service provider and are not restricted by geographical location within the U.S. 

revised 3/1/09

(back to index of frequently asked questions about COBRA coverage) 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.