Do I Have to Offer COBRA?
Q: Do I have to offer COBRA to someone who is eligible for Medicare?
A: There is a common misconception that because someone is eligible for Medicare when they terminate employment, you don’t have to offer COBRA. In reality, you have to offer COBRA coverage to anyone who was covered under your plan as of the date of the qualifying life event.
So even though an employee is eligible (qualifies but not enrolled in) for Medicare when they experience a qualifying life event, you still have to offer them COBRA. If someone becomes entitled to (actually enrolls in and becomes covered by) Medicare for the first time once they are on COBRA, then you can terminate COBRA upon their enrollment effective date in Medicare. However, if someone was already entitled to Medicare before the qualifying event date (even if it was just Part A), then they are eligible for 18 months of COBRA – you can’t terminate or refuse coverage if they elect.
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