Q: What is the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)? 

A: COBRA is a federal law that provides for the continuation of medical coverage in certain circumstances. Federal law set the coverage period at 18 months; however, NYS Laws gives an additional 18 months for a total of 36 for NYS enrollees.

Q: Who is eligible for COBRA? 

A: All Nassau County employees, retirees, survivors, vestees and their dependents, who are enrolled in medical, dental and optical insurance, and who experience loss of coverage due to separation from County employment, loss of eligibility or is a surviving dependent of a deceased County employee, are entitled to continue benefits through COBRA.  

Q: Am I able to apply for COBRA coverage if I was fired for cause? 

A: Yes, even if you were fired for cause you and your dependents may still apply for COBRA coverage if you are already enrolled in insurance through County.   

Q: What is the deadline to apply for COBRA benefits? 

A: You must apply within 60 days of your health benefits termination date, or within 60 days after the date you receive the COBRA notification (whichever is later) from your department Human Resources Representative informing you of your right to choose to continue your existing health benefits coverage.

Q: How long can I receive COBRA benefits? 

A: Former employees and their dependent spouse/children can be covered for a maximum of 36 months. 

Q: What does COBRA cost? 

A: Under COBRA coverage you typically pay the full cost of the health, dental, and optical benefits plus an administrative fee.  In 2020, COBRA costs $2,387.58 for NYSHIP family coverage and $1,031.85 for NYSHIP individual coverage. NYSHIP is not charging the administrative fee in 2020. See rate sheet for HMO premiums.

Dental coverage is through Healthplex and the COBRA cost is $47.69. Optical coverage is through Davis Vision and the COBRA cost is $9.38. Both are the same rate whether family of individual coverage

Q: I decided to enroll in COBRA benefits, when is my first payment due? 

A: Although you have 60 days to apply for COBRA, you must pay the premium retroactively to the health benefits termination date. Generally, health insurance (medical, dental, optical) payment is due the 10th of the month prior to the month of coverage. Therefore depending on the date you decide to enroll; at least two to three months of premium is due at the time of application submission.  

For example:    If the termination or separation from employment date is May 15th, you decide July 10th to enroll in COBRA, once the application is submitted, a check for three month’s (June, July and August) premium should be attached for each coverage (medical, dental, optical) – 3 total. 

Q: What happens to my COBRA health benefits after 36 months? 

A: After the 36 months have passed your COBRA coverage will end. You will be sent a conversion policy from the carriers to continue coverage, but the policy will not provide the same level of benefits. If you opt for the conversion policy your relationship will be between you and the carrier – Nassau County will not be involved. 

Q. Are there other Health Insurance coverage options aside from COBRA that Nassau County Offers? 

A. No, but you may qualify for a special enrollment opportunity for another group health plan through the Marketplace if you request enrollment within 30 days. For tax credit eligibility and/or premium estimates, and additional information, visit the Official Health Plan Market Place website at