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Qualifying Event

Qualifying Event

Definition

As it pertains to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), an event that triggers the continuation of coverage provisions of the Act. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), the health benefit provisions of COBRA "require group health plans to provide a temporary continuation of group health coverage that otherwise might be terminated." The continuation of coverage can range from 18 months to 36 months, depending on the type of qualifying event, and typically comes with a small administrative charge in addition to the regular premium.

Qualifying events include the following.

  • Covered employee's termination
  • Reduction of hours of employment
  • Death of a covered spouse
  • Divorce
  • Entitlement to Medicare of a covered spouse
  • Bankruptcy of a private-sector employer

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