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What's the difference between federal and state COBRA?

While plan coverage stays the same for the COBRA participant regardless of the type of COBRA they are enrolled in, there are two primary differences between Federal and State COBRA:

  • Where payments are sent:
    • Payments for Federal and non-carrier administered State COBRA are paid by the employer who is then reimbursed by the employee.
    • Payments for carrier-administrated COBRA (e.g., Cal-COBRA) are paid by the employee directly to the carrier.
  • The cost of COBRA:
    • FederalPremium + 2% administrative fee
    • State: Premium + variable state-specific administrative fee

In rare cases, COBRA participants are limited in the types of coverage they can select during open enrollment for Federal and State COBRA.

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