A personalized continuation of coverage packet will be mailed to your home by WageWorks after your termination of employment has been entered in Workday and your employment has ended. If you have not received a COBRA packet within two weeks after you have received your final pay from the university, please contact the WashU Benefits Team at 314-935-2332.

You have 60 days after the later of 1) the cancellation of coverage date or 2) the date the university sends you the COBRA enrollment packet to enroll in COBRA continued health benefits. The same university health benefits can be extended for a period up to eighteen months and you are required to pay the total premium cost.

What is COBRA?

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) was signed into law in 1986 requiring certain employers who sponsor group health plans to offer their employees and their families continuation coverage at group rates that otherwise would have been forfeited in certain situations.

Who is a qualified beneficiary?

An individual covered under a group health plan the day before a qualifying event occurs (i.e., the employee, employee’s spouse and employee’s dependent children).

What is a qualifying event?

A specified event that results in the loss of group medical coverage. There are several types of qualifying events for employees, their spouses and dependent children.

Qualifying events for an employee are:

  • Voluntary or involuntary termination of employment for any reason
  • Reduction in employment hours which would result in the loss of coverage

Qualifying events for a covered employee’s spouse are:

  • Death of spouse
  • Divorce or legal separation
  • Termination of spouse’s employment
  • Reduction in spouse’s employment hours

Qualifying events for a covered employee’s dependent children are:

  • Death of parent
  • Termination of parent’s employment
  • Reduction in parent’s employment hours
  • Dependent ceases to be an “eligible dependent child” under plan rules

When is the employee responsible for reporting a qualifying event?

The employee or the spouse must notify the plan administrator of a divorce, legal separation or child losing eligible dependent child status within 60 days of the event.

What is the COBRA election period and when does it end?

The COBRA election period is the time frame during which the qualified beneficiary may choose to elect continuous coverage. The election period ends 60 days after the later of either:

  • The date coverage terminates after a qualifying event; or
  • The date the qualified beneficiary is sent the COBRA election notice.

How long does COBRA coverage last?

An employee, spouse and dependent children are entitled to 18 months of continuous coverage if the qualifying event is due to a termination of employment or reduction of hours. Any other qualifying event allows the beneficiary (including the spouse and dependent) up to 36 months of coverage.

If a second qualifying event occurs during an 18-month continuation period (i.e., death of a covered employee, etc.) the spouse or dependent children may be entitled to an additional 18 months extension, up to a total of 36 months.

When does a qualified beneficiary become disqualified from COBRA coverage?

A beneficiary loses COBRA coverage when:

  • The premium for coverage is not paid within the designated grace period
  • The employer terminates the group health plan
  • The beneficiary is entitled to Medicare benefits
  • The beneficiary becomes covered under another group health plan

However, if a beneficiary becomes covered under another group health plan, the beneficiary would not become disqualified if the new plan excludes or limits coverage for any pre-existing condition for that beneficiary. The beneficiary’s COBRA would not end until the original eligibility period ends or until the pre-existing condition limitation or exclusion ends, whichever occurs first.

Monthly COBRA Premiums

Effective 01/01/2024

PlanIndividual OnlyIndividual + Child/renIndividual + Spouse/PartnerFamily
High Deductible (PPO)$749.23$1,467.01$1,711.81$2,472.46
Excel PPO*$805.55$1,579.03$1,828.25$2,602.01
Basic PPO$777.59$1,524.39$1,764.37$2,511.76
Vision Basic$1.45$3.06$2.87$4.85
Vision Buy Up Option$7.98$17.07$15.92$27.25
*Effective January 1, 2023, the Excel PPO was closed to new entrants. You may only elect the Excel PPO if you are enrolled in that option as of the later of (a) December 31, 2023; and (b) the date immediately prior to the date you become eligible for COBRA coverage.

HealthCompare: Health Insurance Resource Available to COBRA Beneficiaries

A free educational service provided through HealthCompare is available to assist COBRA beneficiaries in exploring and comparing other health insurance options that are available through the individual marketplace.  The individual marketplace offers many health insurance plan options, some of which may be more cost effective than COBRA coverage.  Please review the HealthCompare Notice and FAQs (PDF) for information about this resource.  Contact HealthCompare toll-free at 844-233-2176.