Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
Throughout a career, workers will face multiple life events, job changes or even job losses. A law enacted in 1986 helps workers and their families keep their group health coverage during times of voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs and in certain other cases. The law — the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) — gives workers who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by the plan under certain circumstances.
The law generally covers group health plans maintained by employers with 20 or more employees in the prior year. It applies to plans in the private sector and those sponsored by state and local governments. Provisions of COBRA covering state and local government plans are administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.