How do I know if I am eligible for a COBRA premium reduction? Are COBRA alternatives eligible for a premium reduction?

The COBRA plan administrator should provide to you a notice of your right to apply for the COBRA premium reduction. 

  • If your qualifying event occurred between October 1, 2008 and February 17, 2009 then employers have until April 15, 2009 to provide this notice.
  • If your qualifying event occurred between February 18, 2009 and December 2009 then the normal notification provisions apply as explained elsewhere on this Web site.
  • If your qualifying event occurs after December 31, 2009 then there is no provision for a COBRA premium reduction.

If you qualify for this special benefit under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and you take the required steps to make a timely enrollment and payment of retroactive premiums then your COBRA premiums will be reduced for up to nine months from your initial date of eligibility.

COBRA alternatives are not covered by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 but since premiums are based on actual claims history, the premiums for these policies are likely to be reduced by natural market forces in the near future as more people with high medical expenses elect COBRA coverage in 2009 under the new federal law. Premium rates for many of the popular COBRA alternatives are updated frequently through the online quote engines at OnlineAdviser. This Web site also caries news about insurance premium reductions when they are announced by major insurance companies.

revised 3/6/09

(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.