Does COBRA count as a company health plan?
June 22, 2015 12:05 PM   Subscribe

Will the availability of COBRA keep a person from qualifying for a Marketplace plan and/or subsidies?

Asking for my son (Thor)...Just today, he received a notice saying that because of a reduction in his hours*, he no longer qualifies for the company's group healthcare plan. The letter included a form for him to fill out if he wanted to elect to go onto COBRA.

I would think that the loss of coverage would count as a special circumstance that would allow him to get a Marketplace plan outside the open-enrollment period. But, of course, if a company offers a health plan, and the employee opts for the Marketplace, the employee will not qualify for any subsidies.

So, my question is...If my son goes to the Marketplace for a new plan, will the offer of COBRA disqualify him for subsidies?

In my mind, it shouldn't disqualify him, since the employee is paying 100% of the cost of the COBRA coverage. But, I'm just guessing.


* Thing is, his hours haven't been reduced to below the 30-hour/week minimum, so we have no idea what they're talking about.
posted by Thorzdad to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: No. You can get a marketplace plan even if you have the option for COBRA continuation. COBRA's deal is that they make you pay the whole cost of the plan, which is often exorbitant, and would be a financial hardship for most people in his situation.

He should start the application process (today) through and then actually pick up the phone and call their customer service number to have someone walk him through his options. Since he's still employed by the same employer it's kind of a special case, and he may need to submit a letter from his employer stating the specifics of why his coverage was discontinued.

But he needs to call them and speak with them to get this all straight.
posted by phunniemee at 12:12 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

Phunimee is correct. I just did this less than two months ago when I quit my job. Start the forms online and then call them and have them walk you through the things you have questions about. It was one of my best customer service experiences in recent memory.
posted by MsMolly at 12:21 PM on June 22, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks, phunniemee!
posted by Thorzdad at 12:33 PM on June 22, 2015

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