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Does COBRA mimic the health benefit plans you had before?

For New Jersey residents who find themselves in need of bridge medical coverage after job loss, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, commonly known as "COBRA," can be a lifesaver for the individual and a family. Much like other work-related benefits programs like ERISA and EBSA providing disability coverage and other benefits, COBRA lets people pay a certain amount to maintain medical coverage. Like any federal plan of this kind, there are certain requirements that must be met.

When a person can get COBRA, it is imperative to understand what benefits are available. Knowing the benefits that must be covered is key if there are issues with being covered or having family extended coverage. With continuation coverage, the benefits they receive are required to be the exact same benefits that active employees and their families get.

In general, this will be the same that the person who is getting COBRA would have had prior to job loss. In addition, there will be an entitlement to get the same benefits, alternatives and services they had before, during the period they are getting continuation coverage. That includes the right to select various options that are available when there is open enrollment.

The person must abide by the same rules and regulations as if they still had the job and medical coverage. That includes the need to pay deductibles, copays and limits to the coverage they can receive. If there is a change to the plan for active employees, it will impact those who are getting COBRA. When dealing with a situation that requires using any federal benefit like ERISA or COBRA, getting the right legal information is crucial.

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