COBRA

What is COBRA?

COBRA is a continuation of health coverage for individuals and families, at the individual’s own expense, when the individual terminates employment.

When to apply for COBRA

When you notify your employer of your intent to retire or separate from employment, PEBB will send you a Continuation of Coverage Election Notice, which begins a 60-day window in which you must apply for COBRA coverage. If you do not apply for COBRA during this timeframe, you will not be eligible for coverage. If you use COBRA as a "bridge" to PEBB retiree insurance coverage, you must be eligible to retire when your COBRA coverage ends. 

Exception: If you are leaving a school district or educational service district that does not provide PEBB retiree insurance coverage while you are working, enroll in COBRA through your employer's insurance program.

Applying for PEBB retiree insurance coverage

If you wish to apply for PEBB retiree insurance coverage when your COBRA coverage ends, you must meet the requirements of your retirement plan at the time of application to be eligible to enroll in or defer PEBB retiree insurance coverage. 

Contact PEBB if you are unsure of the eligibility requirements for PEBB retiree insurance coverage.

Timeframe

Action to take if you are enrolling in coverage: Action to take if you are deferring coverage:
6 months prior to COBRA coverage ending Contact DRS to request a retirement estimate. Contact DRS to request a retirement estimate.

3 months prior to your 65th birthday or terminating employment at age 65 or older

Contact Social Security Administration (SSA) to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B if you or any family members you wish to cover are entitled to Medicare, due to either age or disability. Make sure you understand the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) and Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for Medicare and how these timelines affect the start date of Medicare.

Be sure to apply for Medicare prior to the month you turn age 65. The SSA does not allow you to defer Medicare when you are on COBRA coverage and you could incur a penalty.

 
3 months prior to COBRA coverage ending Request a Retiree Enrollment Guide.
30-60 days prior to retirement
  • Submit your retirement application to DRS if you participate with DRS.
  • Send PEBB:
    • Retiree Coverage Election/Change form and any other applicable forms
    • A copy of your Medicare ID card showing enrollment in Medicare Part A and Part B (if entitled). If you wish to enroll dependents who are entitled to Medicare, include a copy of their Medicare ID card.
    • Payment for your first month’s health coverage premium (if not using pension deduction).

PEBB must receive the form no later than 60 days after employer-paid coverage, COBRA coverage or continuation of coverage ends. If enrolling in a Medicare plan, PEBB should receive the forms prior to the month the retiree coverage begins. You may want to keep a copy of your forms for your files.

Contact

The PEBB Program

Department of Retirement Systems (DRS)
Online
360-664-7000
Toll-free: 1-800-547-6657