Employees eligible for federal COBRA coverage must elect COBRA coverage within 60 days from the employee's insurance termination date, or for state COBRA, the date specified on the employee's COBRA election notice. Employees should refer to the notice to confirm their election deadline date.
COBRA election deadlines are hard deadlines. Employees who miss this strict deadline will be unable to elect COBRA and continue their previous employer's coverage, at which point they will need to enroll in coverage elsewhere (i.e. state exchange, spouse coverage, etc.).
COBRA Election Deadline Examples
If an employee is terminated on 4 /25:
- COBRA notice sent on 4 /27
- Group insurance cancels 4 /30
- Employee has until 6 /30 to enroll
If an employee is terminated on 4 /30:
- Group insurance cancels on 4 /30
- Notice is sent on 5/2
- Employee has until 7/2 to enroll using the later date
- If the employee enrolls during the 60-day period, then there's no lapse in coverage. COBRA applies retroactively to date the employee loses coverage.
- For example, if an employee's employer-provided coverage ends on 6 /30, COBRA picks up on 7/1.