The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows you to temporarily continue coverage in Stanford-sponsored health plans if you, or one of your covered dependents, lose coverage.
Your Stanford medical, dental and vision benefits stop at the end of the month in which you are no longer benefits eligible – either because your employment ends, you start working less than 50 percent time or you start working in a non-benefits-eligible position. COBRA coverage begins the first day of the following month.
A COBRA notification and enrollment package will be mailed to the address on file in StanfordYou by Stanford’s COBRA administrator, Vita Companies. You have a 60-day period to elect COBRA; you pay your premiums to Vita Companies directly.
The following plans are covered under COBRA:
- Health care flexible spending account (FSA)
COBRA Plan Information
Certain events make you eligible for up to 18 months of COBRA, including:
In some cases, your covered dependents can continue coverage up to 36 months, such as:
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. Learn more in Life Events.
NOTE FOR RETIREES
|How to Enroll
|Vita will send an enrollment package to you if you or your covered dependents become eligible for COBRA. To elect COBRA coverage, you and/or your covered dependents must complete the COBRA enrollment and return it to Vita Companies within the deadlines stated in the packet.
|How it Works
|When Coverage Ends
If you exhaust COBRA or lose COBRA eligibility, under the HIPAA Special Enrollment Rights you may enroll in a group health plan or a Health Insurance Marketplace plan outside of the annual Open Enrollment period.
If you choose to terminate COBRA early with no special enrollment opportunity at that time, you generally will have to wait to enroll in other coverage during the next open enrollment period for eligible group health plans or Marketplace plans.
Alternative to COBRA
Under the HIPAA Special Enrollment Rights, losing your Stanford coverage qualifies you to enroll in a Health Insurance Marketplace plan outside of the annual Open Enrollment period. In the Marketplace, you can shop and compare private health insurance options before you decide to enroll in COBRA. Through the Marketplace, you can learn if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage from Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Eligibility for COBRA won't limit your eligibility for Marketplace coverage or for any tax credits that lower your monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs.