Sign up for Free COBRA Coverage!

April 13, 2021 6:39 PM

Para español, haga clic aquí

Thousands of our members are now eligible for up to six months of free health insurance through our Union’s Benefit Funds from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021 under the American Rescue Plan.

In order to receive free health insurance YOU MUST:

  1. meet the federal government’s eligibility criteria and;
  2. apply for subsidized COBRA. You have 60 days to enroll from when you receive your updated COBRA notice or April 1, whichever is later

The federal government has released the official enrollment forms that eligible individuals will need to complete in order to enroll in free COBRA coverage and our Industry-Wide Benefit Funds have started to enroll interested members!

Please read the following article carefully to find out how to enroll and where to find more information.

1 Q: Who is eligible for subsidized COBRA?

A: According to the official documents released by the Department of Labor, to be eligible for free COBRA, you:

  • MUST have a COBRA qualifying event that is a reduction in hours or an involuntary termination of a covered employee’s employment between 11/1/19 – 9/30/21;
  • MUST elect COBRA continuation coverage;
  • MUST NOT be eligible for Medicare; AND
  • MUST NOT be eligible for coverage under any other group health plan, such as a plan sponsored by a new employer or a spouse’s employer.

The Department of Labor has released a longer list of FAQs about subsidized COBRA, including the rules for eligibility. You can read those FAQs on the DOL’s website:

2 Q: What if I enrolled in a health insurance plan on the Marketplace once I lost my employer-sponsored coverage?

A: Enrolling in a health plan through the Marketplace or directly through an insurance provider (such as MetroPlus or BlueCross BlueShield) DOES NOT disqualify you from receiving subsidized COBRA. If you are otherwise eligible and you wish to enroll in free COBRA, you should contact your new insurance provider to cancel your coverage.

Important Note: Many plans require you to cancel your coverage by the 15th of the month prior (i.e. cancel by April 15th for May coverage). We recommend that you contact your new plan soon if you wish to cancel your coverage and enroll in free COBRA.

3 Q: How do I sign up for subsidized COBRA?

A: In order to receive free COBRA coverage you MUST sign up with your employer-sponsored healthcare plan.

Scenario A: I was enrolled in health benefits with the Union’s Industry-Wide Employee Benefit Funds prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Laid off union workers should visit the Benefit Funds’ website to enroll. You will be able to enroll by secure email, by mail, or in person at 305 West 44th Street, Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm. Click here to be redirected to the Benefit Funds’ website.

Scenario B: I was enrolled in my employer’s healthcare plan prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your healthcare plan provider is required to notify you of your right to enroll in subsidized COBRA by May 31st. Contact your Human Resources Department or Plan Administrator directly for more details and look out for mail from your healthcare plan.

Scenario C: I was enrolled in UNITE HERE HEALTH prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COBRA enrollment forms will be made available on your UNITE HERE HEALTH Member Portal in the next week or so. If you do not already have a Member Portal, click here to create one. 

Important note: UNITE HERE HEALTH gave many workers free healthcare for the month of April. Even if you are currently receiving free coverage, you will need to enroll in COBRA to continue receiving free coverage from May through September 2021.

More Questions?

Read our full Q&A on subsidized COBRA here: