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United States (NYS specifically) here.

I am in somewhat of a unique position. I have a W2 (salaried) job that has full health, dental and vision benefits, and I have lined up another W2 job (full time, includes full benefits as well, etc.) that is set to start on 11/15 of this year. I would like to put my 2-week notice in to my present employer tomorrow, which would make my last day of employment with them October 2nd. I plan on spending the ~6 weeks or so in between my present and next position with my family and fixing up the house, however, I would of course prefer us to not be without health insurance during this time, and I'm hoping COBRA can help span the gap.

I have been with my present employer for only 4 months, and the employer has 60+ employees. Would I qualify for COBRA and would the "COBRA plan" be the exact same plan/carrier as my existing health/dental/vision plans, or are there any restrictions COBRA enforces when you elect it?

Could I run into any issues with healthcare providers where they tell me "Oh sorry, you're on COBRA now? We don't cover XYZ under COBRA", etc.?

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Since your company has more than 20 employees, it qualifies for Federal COBRA, and there is no minimum length of work to be eligible for that. Yes, it should be the exact same plan/carrier as your current plan, as long as your employer continues to use that same plan/carrier for their employees.

Also, since you have 60 days to sign up for COBRA, and your gap of 6 weeks is less than 60 days, you can simply wait it out until you get your new company's insurance and plan to not sign up for COBRA. If it happens that you get sick or get lots of medical costs during this gap, you can still sign up for COBRA after the fact (since you are still within the 60 days), and it will retroactively cover you back to when you left your job. So you can have the best of both worlds.

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  • Thanks (and +1), if, during that 6 week gap, I had a sudden medical emergency, can I sign up for COBRA after the fact or would I have needed to (luckily) elected it already? – hotmeatballsoup Sep 18 '20 at 0:42
  • @hotmeatballsoup: You can sign up after the fact, as long as it is within 60 days of leaving your job – user102008 Sep 18 '20 at 2:03
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A couple points about a COBRA plan:

It is exactly like your old insurance. The same co-pays, the same deductible, the same covered procedures.

There is one big difference. The cost. You will pay both the employee and the employer portion of the premium. Depending on how generous your employer was you can see a significant increase in the premium when you have to pay the entire premium.

while there normally is a 60 day deadline for signing up, you should be aware that the rules were liberalized during the current health crisis so the deadline is currently longer than 60 days.

This 60 day deadline is great because most people are only without coverage for a weekend, or a few weeks. But sometimes it can be longer. This delay allows most people to know exactly what their medical costs were before they have to signup for COBRA.

When you turn in your two week notice, they should let you know a few days later when all you coverage's end. For some companies it ends at 5:00 on your last day. For others it ends at the end of the pay period, or even the end of the month. There may be different deadlines for health insurance, life insurance, a FSA or HSA. Pay attention to these deadlines.

Also find out when your coverage starts with the new company. For bigger companies it can start on that day, for some companies it can be weeks or even a months later.

Also the loss of coverage from one person does allow the family to switch to the health plan offered by the other spouses employer. This is true even when it isn't open season. If you know you will need the coverage because somebody in the family has a chronic condition it can be cheaper to switch insurance instead of using COBRA.

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