COBRA

Employees and their dependents may purchase continued medical, dental, and vision coverage (or medical-only, or dental/vision-only coverage) under certain circumstances, when employees and their dependents' health coverage with the City ends. This continued coverage is named after the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

COBRA allows employees and their dependents to buy continued medical, dental and vision coverage (or medical-only or dental/vision-only) when coverage through City employment ends. Certain events qualify employees and their dependents for COBRA coverage. Employees must notify their Human Resources Representative if any of these events occur:

Employee's medical coverage ends

Employees and their covered dependents can buy health coverage through COBRA for up to 18 months after:

  • Employee employment ends
  • Employee's work hours are reduced to the point where they no longer are eligible for benefits

Employee's dependents' coverage ends

Covered dependents can buy health coverage through COBRA for up to 36 months after:

  • Employee's death
  • Employee and their spouse/domestic partner legally separate, or dissolve their marriage or domestic partnership
  • Employee's dependent child loses their dependent child status under the City's eligibility definition.

Disability occurs

Employees can extend their COBRA coverage from 18 months to 29 months if employees and a family member (who is a qualified beneficiary) is certified as disabled according to the Social Security Administration, at the time of one of the qualifying events listed above. This 11-month extension is available to all covered dependents of the disabled person, for 150 percent of the regular premium amount. After the employee notifies their Human Resources Representative of the COBRA qualifying condition:

  1. Employee's department will send a COBRA notification form to Benefits.
  2. Benefits will send a letter to the employee's home address which explains COBRA coverage. Employees should verify the address on their paychecks, and keep it updated through Employee Self Service or employees should contact their Human Resources Representative.
  3. If employees and/or their dependents choose to continue their City of Seattle healthcare under COBRA, they should follow the instructions included with the COBRA notification letter. Employees have 60 days from the date of the letter to respond.

After employees and their dependents are enrolled in COBRA, they pay the premiums by personal check or money order, made out to "City of Seattle". The City of Seattle is required by law to notify employees and their covered dependents of their COBRA rights, whether or not the employee chooses to continue coverage. If an employee did not receive their COBRA notification from SHR's Benefits Unit within 30 days of notifying their Human Resources Representative of the qualifying event, they should call (206) 615-1340

COBRA Rates

2020 COBRA Rates

2021 COBRA Rates

Additional Information 

2021 COBRA Annual Notices