New rules give furloughed and laid-off workers considerably more time to decide on coverage.
Americans who have been laid off or furloughed from their jobs now have more time to decide if they want to sign up for COBRA insurance.
A recent federal rule is giving people more time to choose whether they want to keep their health insurance.
COBRA insurance law usually grants people 60 days after having been furloughed or laid off to decide if they want to keep their employer-sponsored health plan. However, a new federal rule has changed this timing in order to take the COVID-19 pandemic crisis into account. Though traditionally, the 60 days would begin with the first day of unemployment, laid off and furloughed workers now have considerably more time.
Under the new rule, the 60 days doesn’t start until the “outbreak period” that started March 1 comes to an end. Once the COVID-19 national emergency is declared over, then the clock will begin, and people will have 60 days in which to decide whether they will be continuing with their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage.
The COBRA insurance countdown for those laid off from the pandemic has not yet started.
Since the end date for the national emergency has yet to be determined, the countdown has yet to begin. That said, as the wait continues, this means that so far people will have at least 120 days to make the decision as to whether they want to choose COBRA. Depending on when they were laid off and how long the emergency continues, it could be notably longer.
For instance, if a worker was laid off at the start of April, and if the national emergency were to continue until, for instance, the end of August, the 60 day period would not start until September 1 in that case. That would mean that even though the worker has been out of a job since April, they would have until the end of October for the initial 60 days. Then, the traditional 60 day election period for COBRA insurance would begin in November, in that case. Those dates are, of course, used only as a for instance as the end of the national emergency has not been decided.