I was recently laid off due to lack of work and my previous employer will cover my health insurance for 18 months. I live in Virginia but just accepted a position with a company in Massachusetts to work remotely from home.

Is it ethical and legal to stay on my previous employer’s COBRA if I have another job?

Is it ethical and legal to be reimbursed for healthcare costs in the Virginia market from a company in Massachusetts? Is it more proper to seek healthcare coverage in Massachusetts? May I shop both and choose whichever is the better plan for our needs (Husband and Wife 51 and 54)?


You can continue COBRA for your allotted time until you elect to obtain coverage from another source including another employer. Continuing COBRA is ethical and legal and is your choice, even if you move out of state (although unless you have a PPO that covers all states you may find your best coverage option in the state you reside).

The above being said you most likely won't want to pass up your open enrollment opportunity at your new employer, COBRA is meant to bridge the gap between enrollment options. You should still remain aware of special enrollment periods triggered by losing your non-COBRA coverage and open enrollment periods for new coverage.

In cases where the COBRA recipient goes on Medicare or family members can't join a the new plan COBRA can be continued just for the family too. COBRA extensions can be requested for any member on the plan in a number of specific situations as well.

You can read most of the important COBRA rules form the Department of Labor here.

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Deborah MacPherson on

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While the question about COBRA is answered I still do not know if it is OK to shop between the state I live in and the state I work in. Once COBRA is completed, may either state marketplace be used?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

If you are using the health insurance Marketplace you should use the state you have your primary residence in. You can only get cost assistance on the Marketplace if you don’t have coverage options through work (COBRA doesn’t count). So if your new employer offers coverage you can’t get cost assistance. Since you travel you should make sure to get a multi-state plan whatever option you go with.

Colleen on

I enrolled in COBRA through my previous employer in the state of IL, where my medical condition has state mandated coverage. I moved to NV, there is NO coverage here for my condition. I want to stay on COBRA so that my medical expenses for my condition will be covered. However
I have a new full time job in NV and was offered group health insurance.

1. Can I decline the new employer plan so I can remain on COBRA? Is that legal due to the fact I electivrly declined?

2. Once I discontinue COBRA, is my employer required to offer an open enrollment due to my loss of coverage through COBRA?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

We are pretty confident that you can decline the new coverage and remain on COBRA and still take the employer coverage when COBRA ends. We know for sure that COBRA ending triggers a special enrollment (in both employer coverage and the marketplace), but are unsure if there is some special rule we are missing (don’t think there is). Typically COBRA is positioned as a pretty solid workers right and covers everything from switching jobs to death. You should be safe here, but keep in mind this is unofficial advice.

You may want to give this a look through: http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/cobra.htm

Jess on

I was laid off and currently covered by CORBA. I just got a new job that offers a corporate health insurance plan. If I do not enroll into the company’s plan, can I keep CORBA?

Shannon on

In treatment for breast cancer, my job with current employer ends a week before I start radiation. Planning on staying on my old insurance via COBRA for radiation. I’m expecting to be hired with a new company before my radiation ends. Can I stay on COBRA to pay for radiation and select my new company’s insurance? Can my coverage with COBRA and new insurance overlap for about 2 months?

Erin on

You can if that is the best and most affordable coverage available to you. You’ll also be eligible for Marketplace coverage (and potentially cost assistance) when you are between employers. COBRA tends to be very expensive and you may find more affordable coverage for less on the Marketplace (especially if you earn before 400% of the federal poverty level).

Tracy Denise on

I have Cobra Coverage through my old job. I just started a new job and my new insurance with that job starts Dec 1. My husband and I are moving at the end of December and my job’s insurance will no longer be effective. Can I keep the Cobra coverage for the old job?
Do I need to refuse insurance at the current job. I live in Texas.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

I am 99% certain you can keep COBRA and have “dual coverage.” You are going to want to double check this one with a professional though.

Would make sense, assuming I am right, to refuse coverage at the current job if it saves money, but not bother if it doesn’t.

That said, I don’t have a concrete answer and don’t want to speculate, so it is best to ask human resources, the insurer, or find out from the department of labor. In other words, to ask a professional.

Warren Johnson on

I recently realized that I was still being charged for COBRA insurance a few years after i went back to work. Initially my premium would be taken out then an amount was being put into my account to offset the cost. Recently, my premiums went up from $500 to over $1100 a month (without the caveat being put into my account) and continued to come out of my account for about a year or so before i realized what was happening, my checking and savings account had been completely drained leaving me with anything to pay my bills. Could i have possibly been scammed?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

COBRA can last for up to 18 months unless it is cancelled. I am not sure what remedy you have here, or if there even is one, but you could start by asking the insurer. They may have the knowledge and insight to point you in the right direction.

You can also if needed contact the department of labor. Also, if you got some sort of paper work you could try the number on that, or you could try asking your former employer.

Also see this for more information on COBRA https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/legacy-files/ebsa/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/faqs/cobra-continuation-health-coverage-consumer.pdf