What is Cal-Cobra?

What is Federal COBRA?

The federal COBRA is different from the Cal-COBRA. The federal COBRA acronym is spelt out as the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. The federal COBRA provides former employees, retirees, estranged spouses and dependents the right to continue making use of the insurance plan of a holder when the cover should have been lost. Under the federal COBRA act, companies with more than twenty employees are mandated to provide COBRA coverage for their former employees. COBRA applies to the plans offered by private companies, and the plans also sponsored by governments at local and state level. The federal COBRA does not apply to federally-administered insurance plans or by health sharing ministries. Also, group health insurance for employers with at least twenty and not more than fifty employees within the last year are mandated to provide COBRA for their former employees. Full-time and part-time employees are used to determine whether a company should pay for COBRA or not.  Federal COBRA extends healthcare insurance coverage for an individual for a period not exceeding eighteen months.

What is Cal-Cobra?

The state of California has the Cal-COBRA which directly applies to employers and group health plans that range from two to nineteen employees. It also covers an employee in an organization with twenty or more employees when the individual has exhausted the time available from the federal COBRA.an employer must have the group health insurance policy in force with two to nineteen employees covered on at least half of its working day during the previous year. Cal-COBRA covers HMOs, PPOs, and church plans (healthcare sharing ministry) but do not cover self-insured plans. Cal-COBRA provides healthcare coverage for up to three years. If it happens that an individual has already benefited from the federal COBRA, then the Cal-COBRA period is reduced to eighteen months.

Types of Health Plans Covered

At both state and federal level, COBRA covers individual and family healthcare insurance. There are different plans within the individual and family healthcare plans such as HMOs, PPOs and POS plans. All these are covered under the COBRA at both levels of government.

Who pays for Cal-COBRA?

The COBRA for an individual is much different from that of a family plan. For the individual healthcare insurance plan, the COBRA ensures that the former employer pays a higher percentage of the sum for covering medical costs. For the family insurance plan, the COBRA at both state and federal level permit the employer to pay the insurance coverage for a specified number of the dependents on the former employee’s plan. However, for the group plans, there may be situations where the former employee has to pay a greater part of the premium for the insurance coverage for his/her family members.

How do I prepare to use Cal-COBRA?

There are certain qualifications that may make an individual or his/her dependents eligible to partake of the COBRAs. At the instance of such an event, it is the duty of the insurance holder to contact the coverage provider in the event of the termination of appointment, an eligible status for Medicare, the dependent of a plan becomes ineligible, and so on.

The insurance holder will then initiate the process to get you a COBRA coverage which is mandated to have no gap between the prior coverage and the emergency coverage period.


The Cal-COBRA and COBRA coverage programs are both designed to provide the necessary assistance to a citizen and other individuals in the case of a group plan where the cover for healthcare has been lost by an event. Many insurance companies quote that if an individual eligible for Cal-COBRA fails to register for the program within two months, then the holder is disqualified from receiving any Cal-COBRA coverage of any kind. The only way this may be waived is when the individual is already a participant in the federal COBRA plan.