Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
COBRA for 36 months question.
Old 06-01-2019, 07:05 PM   #1
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 12
COBRA for 36 months question.

When I contact my HR department for Cobra details, I am told they will provide information when I retire. I need answers before in order to make wise decisions on timing my retirement. Specifically I want to know about the 36 month eligibility for my spouse and whether that will apply in our case. Does anyone know of a good source for finding answers for different scenarios? I've looked at the government page but it still isn't definitive. Thanks for any suggestions.
TN Jim is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 06-01-2019, 07:18 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
VanWinkle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Brighton
Posts: 1,580
Quote:
Originally Posted by TN Jim View Post
When I contact my HR department for Cobra details, I am told they will provide information when I retire. I need answers before in order to make wise decisions on timing my retirement. Specifically I want to know about the 36 month eligibility for my spouse and whether that will apply in our case. Does anyone know of a good source for finding answers for different scenarios? I've looked at the government page but it still isn't definitive. Thanks for any suggestions.
Most states follow the federal guidelines of 18 months for cobra. Some states
add additional months, or additional months are available in the case of divorce. I would google your own state rules for cobra and see what you find.
__________________
Retired May 13th(Friday) 2016 at age 61.
VanWinkle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2019, 07:28 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
mickeyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: South Texas~29N/98W Just West of Woman Hollering Creek
Posts: 6,395
Quote:
Does anyone know of a good source for finding answers for different scenarios?
Years ago I used to administer thousands of COBRA cases. That said, I have forgotten most of what I knew when I was the "go to guy" at HQ when it came to COBRA. There are 36 as well as 18 month situations. It all depends on why the ex employee is being offered COBRA. The HIPAA law is quite clear and if there is any lack or vagueness, the ex-employee wins. I suggest asking HR who administers the COBRA program for your company and get the name of the main person there and give them a call for the accurate answer. I used to get calls like that all of the time and was always glad to give them an accurate answer.
__________________
Part-Owner of Texas

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

In dire need of: faster horses, younger woman, older whiskey, more money.
mickeyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2019, 07:49 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,472
From the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) - COBRA Q & A.

Q7: How long does COBRA last?

Assuming one pays all required premiums, COBRA coverage starts on the date of the qualifying event, and the length of the period of COBRA coverage will depend on the type of qualifying event which caused the qualified beneficiary to lose group health plan coverage.

For “covered employees,” the only qualifying event is termination of employment (whether the termination is voluntary or involuntary) including by retirement, or reduction of employment hours. In that case, COBRA lasts for eighteen months.

If the qualifying event is the death of the covered employee, divorce or legal separation of the covered employee from the covered employee’s spouse, or the covered employee becoming entitled to Medicare, COBRA for the spouse or dependent child lasts for 36 months.


Not sure about the particulars in your case. Follow mickeyd's advice and contact your company's HR benefits specialist.
__________________
“Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, you’ll be a mile from them, and you’ll have their shoes.” – Jack Handey
candrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2019, 09:34 PM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Brunswick
Posts: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by TN Jim View Post
When I contact my HR department for Cobra details, I am told they will provide information when I retire. I need answers before in order to make wise decisions on timing my retirement. Specifically I want to know about the 36 month eligibility for my spouse and whether that will apply in our case. Does anyone know of a good source for finding answers for different scenarios? I've looked at the government page but it still isn't definitive. Thanks for any suggestions.
This is why I hung on until I was at less than 18 months to Medicare; my wife is years younger than me so she will get the extra coverage and then she's on her own.

I think she just gets another 18 months from when I transition to Medicare, though. Since I changed to COBRA at 14 months to Medicare that would give her 32 months of COBRA total. But I am not certain.

ACA is almost as expensive and does not provide nationwide coverage.

Ray
NXR7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2019, 05:55 AM   #6
gone traveling
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 3,508
Quote:
Originally Posted by TN Jim View Post
When I contact my HR department for Cobra details, I am told they will provide information when I retire. I need answers before in order to make wise decisions on timing my retirement. Specifically I want to know about the 36 month eligibility for my spouse and whether that will apply in our case. Does anyone know of a good source for finding answers for different scenarios? I've looked at the government page but it still isn't definitive. Thanks for any suggestions.
This might get you started https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclope...hapter3-6.html
joeea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2019, 07:56 AM   #7
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 170
OP,

You need to politely press harder with HR and explain why you need to know now before retiring.

We are in a similar situation as you and in addition had some minor run ins with wife's HR over employee's share of health insurance cost six months ago. In the end things could have been originally explained better.

I'm retired and we both get health insurance through wife's work. She is eligible for medicare in September and I'll have 42 more months to go before being eligible.

I read through the plan document regarding coordination with medicare and saw the language about choosing medicare primary vs. secondary, plan coverage ends if medicare is primary and 36 month COBRA coverage for dependents when the employee loses coverage due to medicare. My eyes opened when I saw a route to get me within 6 months of medicare.

We recently sent a nice email to HR, keeping in mind the earlier run in. My wife explained our situation (medicare suggests you begin signup 3 months before being eligible and me, a dependent, being 3.5 years younger), referenced the applicable sections of the plan document, asked several questions for confirmation and what COBRA would cost or for a contact at the plan we can reach out to.

HR replied back saying COBRA is 18 months and so we get accurate information for our other questions we should contact the plan directly by phone. We called the plan, went through all the prompts and got cut off. I found a "contact us" form on the plan's website and used that to say HR suggested we contact them, we tried via phone, was cut off and explained our situation and questions. They replied a few days later via email which is nice so it is all documented. They confirmed if wife selects medicare primary, insurance terminates and I can go on COBRA for 36 months at $370/mo (half of what we pay for employee & spouse now).

We will pay for wife's part B, supplement and drug plan and be ahead with lower OOP for wife's visits and tests. I'll only have to worry about 6 months of coverage from 9/2022 to 2/2023. I've always told her to not feel that she needs to work for the insurance. She likes the work and coming home to me having dinner made!
user5027 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2019, 08:39 AM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,472
Quote:
Originally Posted by user5027 View Post
OP,

You need to politely press harder with HR and explain why you need to know now before retiring.
^^^^^^^

This - 100% It is unfortunate that some of these HR folks need a bit of prodding, however, we must each of us be our own best advocates.
__________________
“Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, you’ll be a mile from them, and you’ll have their shoes.” – Jack Handey
candrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2019, 10:23 AM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 1,262
While COBRA might last 18 months, the price may not be constant that whole time.
Mine was 12 months of "same as employee" contribution followed by 6 months of employer+admin cost. The price change at 12 months is a qualifying event for ACA special enrollment.
Spock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2019, 12:46 PM   #10
gone traveling
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 3,508
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spock View Post
While COBRA might last 18 months, the price may not be constant that whole time.
Mine was 12 months of "same as employee" contribution followed by 6 months of employer+admin cost. The price change at 12 months is a qualifying event for ACA special enrollment.
You were fortunate.

Each time I've been on COBRA, it has been for employee+employer+2 or 3% for admin costs.
joeea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2019, 08:31 AM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 1,262
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeea View Post
You were fortunate.

Each time I've been on COBRA, it has been for employee+employer+2 or 3% for admin costs.
Even at the employee rate it would have been cheaper for us to skip COBRA and go straight to ACA.
Spock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2019, 10:01 AM   #12
Moderator Emeritus
Bestwifeever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 17,741
Quote:
Originally Posted by candrew View Post
From the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) - COBRA Q & A.

Q7: How long does COBRA last?

Assuming one pays all required premiums, COBRA coverage starts on the date of the qualifying event, and the length of the period of COBRA coverage will depend on the type of qualifying event which caused the qualified beneficiary to lose group health plan coverage.

For “covered employees,” the only qualifying event is termination of employment (whether the termination is voluntary or involuntary) including by retirement, or reduction of employment hours. In that case, COBRA lasts for eighteen months.

If the qualifying event is the death of the covered employee, divorce or legal separation of the covered employee from the covered employee’s spouse, or the covered employee becoming entitled to Medicare, COBRA for the spouse or dependent child lasts for 36 months.


Not sure about the particulars in your case. Follow mickeyd's advice and contact your company's HR benefits specialist.
Yes. I used COBRA for 19 months (til I hit medicare) through DH’s megacorp after he aged into medicare and the retiree insurance ended. We didn’t expect it to go beyond 18 months. It was pricy.
__________________
“Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Bestwifeever is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2019, 03:24 PM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Beaverton
Posts: 1,382
I was 18 months. Luckily wife had Tricare. Got the big hurt once I stopped Cobra. I had great insurance for $524/mth. Then I had fair insurance for $800/mth.
__________________
Jump in, the water's warm.
Bir48die is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
36 months, cobra, medicare


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Leaving COBRA before 18 months affects pre-existing conditions exclusions? John Galt III Health and Early Retirement 21 01-17-2013 04:40 PM
ER in 4 months...or 11 months...or 24 months... BarbWire Hi, I am... 3 01-05-2012 06:50 AM
To COBRA or not to COBRA~ mickeyd Health and Early Retirement 1 09-04-2009 08:22 PM
Hello new here and in trouble! Cobra question... Arty375 Hi, I am... 13 11-03-2008 03:51 PM
COBRA Question AlmostDone Health and Early Retirement 6 12-11-2007 10:41 PM

» Quick Links

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:37 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.