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Department of Human Resources

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA)

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events.

Under COBRA, group health plans must provide covered employees and eligible dependents with specific notices explaining their COBRA rights, upon initial participation in the plan and when the employee or eligible dependent experiences a COBRA qualifying event. COBRA sets rules for how and when plan sponsors must offer and provide continuation coverage, how employees and their families may elect continuation coverage, and what circumstances justify terminating continuation coverage.