COBRA Toolkit

A collection of resources to help employers and their advisors understand and comply with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).

Practical Law Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 ( (COBRA), which amended the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ( (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code ( (Code), requires most employer-sponsored group health plans to offer covered employees and their families the opportunity to continue their health coverage in situations where the coverage would otherwise end because of certain life events (known as qualifying events ( ). Individuals who lose plan coverage because of a COBRA qualifying event (known as qualified beneficiaries ( ) may include employees, spouses, and dependent children.

Major developments impacting COBRA compliance have included:

More recently, after enactment of the Affordable Care Act ( (ACA) in 2010, the DOL characterized coverage under the ACA health insurance exchanges as an alternative to COBRA coverage for individuals who lose their group health plan coverage. In June 2015 Congress restored the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC), which is available through the end of 2019.

This COBRA Toolkit provides a set of continuously updated resources that address various aspects of COBRA compliance, including:

  • Substantive requirements under COBRA, its implementing guidance, and relevant caselaw (for example, its notice obligations for plan administrators).

  • Common contexts in which COBRA-related issues may arise (for example, severance situations and mergers and acquisitions).


Practice Notes


Standard Documents and Clauses





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