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Medicare Versus Cobra

cobra continuation health coverage, cobra drug coverage, federal government
June 25, 2022

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Medicare and COBRA

If you work for an employer, it can make your job a little confusing. COBRA stands for Consolidation Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. It provides health insurance for people who may otherwise lose their health coverage for 18 / 36 months. COBRA is usually provided to workers experiencing an extended work period or losing work. This blog covers most of the questions that could arise with regard to Medicare and COBRA.

Some COBRA plans will still pay for your health care as if they are the secondary payer if you are Medicare eligible, which may leave you on the hook for a large portion of your coverage.

Cobra and Medicare Coverage

COBRA offers health insurance for those who recently left their jobs. COBRA allows for the retention and payment of your insurance plan even when your employer is not currently working. COBRA coverage lasts for at least 18 months. COBRA helps pay for more services for patients under Medicare if they qualify for Medicare Part B or C. The COBRA program could also save you a few thousand dollars.

This is also the case if you do take COBRA but it doesn't provide creditable drug coverage. If you take COBRA and it does provide creditable coverage, then yes, you may be able to delay Part D without penalty. Medicare pays second to the extent COBRA coverage overlaps during the first 30 months of Medicare eligibility.

How do Medicare and COBRA work together?

You could use COBRA insurance to pay for your medical bills or the care of the dependents for at least 18 months. COBRA enables a person to pay medical insurance at his or her employer. Fact check. Our fact checking processes start with checking the source for authoritativeness and relevance. Afterwards, we verify the facts through an official report or we confirm the facts by an expert witness. For total transparency.

COBRA vs. Medicare Advantage The cost of Medicare Advantage plans vary depending on where you live and the plan you choose.


Retire Guide aims at helping seniors make decisions that impact their retirement decisions. It's the objective of us to provide readers with information enabling them to have an economically secure retirement. We aim to provide accurate health care information based on comprehensive studies to guide your decisions. Retire Guide LLC partners with senior marketing partners (SMS) and Century Medicare to provide services to clients. We can reach our partners by calling or filling out the contact form provided on our site and by email.

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Unlike most health plan websites and online resources, Retire Guide retains full editorial control over the content published. Our business operates independently of our partners, enabling our award-winning staff to offer you impartial information on your retirement plans and financial situation. We guarantee the integrity we provide for our editorials. Our partners do not control any editorial content in Retire Guide. The COBRA program offers continued insurance for employers with group health care insurance.

If You Get Medicare Before COBRA

Those who qualify are entitled to both health insurance benefits and Medicare before COBRA. COBRA is optional and may not be necessary. When you choose to join COBRA, don't stop paying for the medical plan. Medicare is your primary provider but this will not change if COBRA is approved. Medicare pays for the majority of healthcare costs. COBRA may pay a cost that Medicare can't cover.

If your group health plan coverage was from a private employer (not a government employer), contact the Department of Labor . If your group health plan coverage was from a state or local government employer, call the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

Be careful with Medicare Part D

In other cases, Medicare Part D will help with your coverage regardless of your COBRA plan. If your COBRA is not accepted then you can enroll in Part D in the first 2 months of your Special Enrollment Period without penalty. Likewise, assuming you have Cobra, it doesn't cover drugs with credit. If you have cobra insurance and you have good coverage you can have Part D covered with no cost to you. If the policy is terminated, you're entitled to a Part A supplemental insurance plan within 30 days.

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What if you only have Medicare Part A and then become eligible for COBRA?

Some Medicare beneficiaries will enroll in Part A of Medicare once they get COBRA coverage. Most commonly that is because the employee’s coverage is deemed eligible by Medicare if you were entitled to delay Medicare PART A and Part B. In the case of Part B, you have to enroll within a year of the termination of your employment to prevent payment penalties for Part C late payments. Those two-month periods are termed Special Enrollment periods.

Can you have both Medicare and COBRA?

You may have COBRA and health coverage as part of a plan, except in limited circumstances. If the COBRA and Medicare coverage does not include your dependent and your spouse and heirs but your benefit stops based on eligibility for Medicare your spouse and dependent may remain covered by COBRA for up to 36 months.

If you become entitled to Medicare after you've signed up for COBRA, your COBRA benefits cease.

Cobra coverage

If you are eligible for Medicare due to End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) , your COBRA coverage is primary during the 30-month coordination period .

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Health coverage

COBRA is a federal law that may let you keep your employer group health plan In general, a health plan offered by an employer or employee organization that provides health coverage to employees and their families.

You may be able to keep COBRA coverage for services that Medicare does not cover. For example, if you have COBRA dental insurance, the insurance company that provides your COBRA coverage may allow you to drop your medical coverage but keep paying a premium for the dental coverage for as long as you are entitled to COBRA.

Cobra continuation coverage

The notice will tell you your coverage is ending and offer you the right to elect COBRA continuation coverage. COBRA coverage generally is offered for 18 months (36 months in some cases).

Advantage The cost of Medicare Advantage plans vary depending on where you live and the plan you choose. You will need to shop for a plan that works for you before comparing Medicare Advantage plan costs with COBRA coverage. COBRA vs. Medicare Part D Drug Coverage COBRA plans generally include prescription drug coverage.

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