Can I Extend COBRA Insurance?

Time Frame

As of 2010, COBRA typically provides coverage for up to 18 months after the termination of group health insurance, provided the beneficiary continues to pay the full premium. It can last up to 36 months in situations such as the death of a beneficiary with dependents.


COBRA coverage may also be extended from 18 to 29 months if the beneficiary becomes disabled during the first 60 days of coverage. The beneficiary would need to meet the same definition of disability that applies to Social Security recipients.


Regardless of whether the beneficiary is entitled to a coverage extension, she will still need to seek additional coverage when COBRA terminates. COBRA was designed as a temporary remedy to the loss of health insurance coverage. Individuals who lose group health insurance due to the termination of employment may have difficulty finding new coverage quickly. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) was enacted in 1985 to provide a temporary solution to the loss of insurance coverage.