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The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows you to continue coverage in Stanford-sponsored plans if you, or one of your covered dependents, lose health coverage.

The following plans are covered under COBRA:

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Cal-COBRA is only available to HMO plan participants in California. It becomes available after your federal COBRA coverage ends. Contact Vita or your HMO plan if you have any questions.


A variety of events that make you eligible for up to 18 months of COBRA coverage, including:

  • You voluntarily leave Stanford
  • You retire from Stanford
  • Stanford ends your employment for any reason, unless you were terminated because of gross misconduct
  • The number of hours you are scheduled to work at Stanford is reduced below that required for eligibility
  • You become disabled

In some cases, your covered dependents can continue coverage up to 36 months, such as:

  • You are divorced or legally separated
  • You die while you are covered under eligible plans
  • Your dependent no longer qualifies as a covered dependent

If you get divorced, your ex-spouse can continue coverage under COBRA for up to 36 months. Ex-spouses are not allowed to remain as covered dependents on university plans.  Stanford provides the same amount of continued coverage to registered domestic partners or same-sex spouses.


COBRA rules stipulate that if you are enrolled in either Medicare Part A or B at the time you become eligible for COBRA, you can elect COBRA. However, if you are already enrolled in COBRA and you subsequently enroll in Medicare Part A or B, your COBRA coverage will be terminated effective the date you are enrolled in Part A or B.

When does coverage start?

Your Stanford medical, dental and vision benefits stop at the end of the month in which you either terminate employment or start working less than 50 percent time and are no longer benefits eligible. COBRA coverage begins the first day of the month following the month in which your Stanford benefits end. Until you actually elect COBRA and make any required premium payments, you will not appear as being eligible for services in the insurance carrier’s computer database.

A COBRA notification and enrollment package will be mailed to you and your covered dependents. To elect COBRA coverage, you and/or your covered dependents must complete the COBRA enrollment package and return it to The Vita Companies within the deadlines stated in the packet.

If you are receiving a COBRA premium subsidy, we will pay a portion of your medical premiums for the first three months, as long as you enroll for COBRA and pay your share. At the end of three months, you are responsible for the full COBRA cost. There is no subsidy for dental or vision, so you pay the full cost for these plans.

How much does COBRA cost?

You pay 102 percent of the full group rate for COBRA coverage.

For individuals on an 11-month disability extension, the premium will be increased to 150 percent of the plan’s total cost of coverage.

If you are enrolled in an HMO plan and move out of your HMO’s service area, you can immediately switch to another plan that is available in your new area and continue your COBRA coverage at the new rate. Contact Vita at 800-424-3052 to report your new address and make the change.

View more information about the COBRA Plan Rates for: 2019 |  2018

How do you get started?

Vita Administration Company (Vita) will send you a package of information describing COBRA and how it works. You will send your COBRA payments directly to them. If you have questions about billing, please call Vita Administration Company at 800-424-3052.