COBRA coverage for someone who has already died
December 8, 2012 5:28 PM   Subscribe

What do I do when a person is eligible for COBRA insurance but has passed away before getting papers and signing up?

I have a relative who has passed away, but has passed while being eligible for COBRA but has only received the paperwork after their death. In the time period after losing coverage from employment, significant medical expenses were incurred. Who applies for COBRA now? Is the executor allowed to sign up for COBRA on the deceased behalf?
posted by meowzilla to Work & Money (4 answers total)
Oh boy, do you need an attorney.

I guess one question is, this estate must have significant assets that would be wiped out by these medical debts? Otherwise, those medical debts, unless somebody co-signed for them or made some other arrangement, are not inherited.
posted by dhartung at 5:53 PM on December 8, 2012

From this site, which looks to be an HR consultant firm's website:

Legal representatives, such as guardians of incapacitated qualified beneficiaries, persons who have been given Powers of Attorney, and representatives of estates of deceased beneficiaries who incurred medical claims but died before formally electing COBRA may elect coverage for the beneficiaries they represent. To have this authority, they must be determined under applicable state laws to be able to act as legal representatives on behalf of these persons. The spouse of an incapacitated or deceased qualified beneficiary may make the COBRA election on behalf of that person, regardless of whether the spouse is also a qualified beneficiary.

That doesn't settle it because I'm not 100% on the terminology, not being an attorney, but it seems like you're barking up the right tree at least.

If there's money in the estate it might be worth it to have the estate pay for an hour of a probate attorney's time to help with this, if that's possible (I am not a lawyer in any way so I do not know!)
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:53 PM on December 8, 2012

An election on behalf of a qualified beneficiary who is incapacitated or dies can be made by the legal representative of the qualified beneficiary or the qualified beneficiary's estate, as determined under applicable state law, or by the spouse of the qualified beneficiary.

That is from here which looks like the text of the actual law. If your relative was married, it might be easiest for their spouse to do it, if they're willing.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:00 PM on December 8, 2012

Yeah, you need a probate attorney. Sounds like you're going to need to get a personal representative appointed.
posted by valkyryn at 7:04 PM on December 8, 2012

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