The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows you to continue health coverage for yourself and your dependents if you involuntarily lose your health benefits.

  • Coverage must be continuous and you'll be required to pay premiums from the date your CalPERS coverage ended.
  • You must submit a COBRA Election Form within 60 days following notification of eligibility.
  • Your premium cannot exceed 102 percent of the group monthly premium rate.

Active Employees

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

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

You must submit a COBRA Election Form (Active Members) (PDF) within 60 days following notification of eligibility. Your employer will notify you automatically if you are eligible.

Dependents

Dependents may enroll in COBRA for up to 36 months if:

  • The dependent child marries or reaches age 26.
  • The covered member dies (eligibility applies whether the member was working or retired at the time of death).
  • The covered member gets a divorce/registered domestic partnership termination or legal separation.

Employees With Disabilities

You can continue coverage for up to 29 months if you're recognized as disabled through Social Security Administration or the Supplemental Security 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.

Ending COBRA Coverage

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

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

Covered California

You can purchase health coverage through Covered California, California's health insurance marketplace, as an alternative to purchasing COBRA coverage. You may be eligible for premium tax credits through Covered California to help you pay for coverage if you lose your CalPERS health benefits. Even if you don't qualify for tax credits, you may shop Covered California for health coverage options as an alternative to COBRA.

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.