COBRA & Conversion Coverage

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)

COBRA continuation coverage allows you to continue health coverage for yourself and your dependents if you involuntarily lose your health benefits. Your premium cannot exceed 102 percent of the group monthly premium rate. You must submit a Cobra Election Form (HBD-85) (PDF, 92 KB) within 60 days following notification of eligibility. Your employer will notify you automatically if you are eligible. Coverage must be continuous and you will be required to pay premiums from the date your CalPERS coverage ended.

Active Employees

You can continue COBRA coverage for 18 months if either of the following applies:

  • You separate from employment for reasons other than dismissal due to gross misconduct
  • You reduce your work hours to less than half-time (or less than 480 hours in a control period for State Permanent-Intermittent employees)

Disabled Employees

You can continue coverage for up to 29 months if you are recognized as disabled through Social Security or the State Supplemental Income program. The cost to you cannot exceed 102 percent of the premium for the first 18 months and 150 percent of the premium for months 19 to 29. This COBRA coverage applies to you and any dependents currently enrolled under your eligibility.


Dependents may enroll in COBRA for up to 36 months as a result of the following:

  • Death of the member who covered them. Eligibility applies whether the member was working or retired at the time of death.
  • Divorce/registered domestic partnership termination or legal separation
  • Enrolled child marries or reaches age 26

Cancellation of COBRA Coverage

COBRA coverage for you or your dependents remains in effect until one of the following events terminates the coverage:

  • Failure to pay the required premium
  • Coverage through another group health plan
  • Coverage time limit ends 
  • Eligibility for Medicare coverage
  • You request cancellation

Individual Conversion Policy

An Individual Conversion Policy is an alternative to COBRA or can follow COBRA coverage. If you lose your CalPERS health benefits or COBRA coverage, you can request an Individual Conversion Policy through your prior health plan. You must request this new policy within 30 days of losing coverage. All CalPERS health plans offer this Individual Conversion Policy option, but your cost and benefits will differ from your previous coverage.

Dated: 08-08-2012