Health Insurance Center
Health Insurance Q & As
Question 1 of 2 in Health Insurance Decisions For Widows
My husband had me on his group plan and just died. Help!
COBRA eligibility begins the day after his coverage ended. You will be offered either Federal COBRA (if his employer had twenty or more employees) or State COBRA (in most States). Federal COBRA will cost you whatever his employer was paying plus a 2% monthly fee. You will receive notification within 15 days that includes costs, how to elect, and timeframe; you have 60 days to decide whether to take COBRA or not, and 45 days after you notify the insurer to pay for the coverage retroactive to the date coverage ended. If you are healthy, please do not automatically accept COBRA (and NEVER automatically reject it). Instead, apply immediately for a less expensive individual policy if you find one, and use the "60 days election period" to try to get through medical underwriting. Be prepared, though, to pay the back premiums in case you are denied coverage.