Yes, there is an eligibility requirement to be able to offer your employees cobra upon separation. Most business owners and employees don’t know that. If you own a business, especially a start-up or small business, I recommend that you research your eligibility and make your status known in your new employee orientation manual and/or in your company’s Policy & Procedure manual.

Through my 25 years of experience in corporate HR, I have learned many things that are now included in the base Policy & Procedure template I use for my Premier HR clients today…Cobra eligibility is one of them.

Offering Cobra insurance upon separation is not a choice or decision made by a business owner, it’s federally regulated by the government. A business must have at least 20 full-time employees in order to be eligible to offer Cobra. Some states offer other programs for companies smaller than 20, but that is a resource determined by each state individually. For instance, I live in Michigan and there is no “mini-cobra” or other continued insurance coverage program offered for companies less than 20.

For business owners, it is wise to document your status with your employees because this may effect whether they choose to opt-in to your insurance plan or not once they become eligible. Being open and honest allows you to maintain a good networking relationship with a departed employee if they don’t feel they have been “duped” out of their insurance coverage.

For employees, this article is meant to alert you of this eligibility issue and determine whether it affects you or not. If you are employed by a company that has less than 20 full-time employees, I suggest you check your individual states continued insurance offerings. Then you can plan accordingly if you are seeking to leave the company voluntarily. You can also make a plan for an involuntary dismissal as well now that you know how it may affect your medical insurance coverage. You know your medical insurance is too important to put in jeopardy, especially since you are subject to pre-existing clauses if there is a 60-63 day break between insurance coverage. There are sources available to shop individual policies, but certainly note that the coverage is not as complete as group plans and is often more expensive…but certainly better than being with out.

More information on cobra insurance can be found at or by calling the US Department of Labor ERISA division at 1.866.444.3272. More information about HR Consulting and outsourcing, visit www.PremierPRpro(?).com or call 248-740-7568.

Author's Bio: 

About Premier HR & Carolyn Simmons:
Premier Human Resources is a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) operated by Carolyn Simmons, who utilizes 25 years of executive-level Human Resource Experience to deliver highly professional services in all aspects of Human Resources, Benefit Plans and Payroll Administration for small, moderate and large companies.

Having a FREE evaluation meeting with Carolyn will allow her to determine your needs and create a fully customized business solution that will meet your goals. Whether you need just one service or a complete solution, Premier Human Resources will deliver top-of-the-line services along with superior customer service. For more information visit premierhrpeo.