Using COBRA Insurance Coverage to Go to Drug Rehab

What Is COBRA Insurance?

COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which offers employees (and their families) short-term continued access to group health benefits when their access has been removed for specific qualifying reasons. A person may use COBRA for continuation coverage if they were working at a job with 20 or more staff members and lost their job or experienced reduced work hours. Other common events that cause COBRA to come into effect are transition between jobs, getting laid off, divorce from the insured person, death of the insured person, or other life events that would suddenly cause a person to lose their insurance coverage.  Using COBRA insurance coverage for drug rehab or other ongoing treatments while making a big life transition can keep you covered so you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket (although you will need to pay for the full cost of COBRA coverage which can seem high, as your employer likely paid for some of your insurance premiums). Depending on the circumstances, COBRA may cover anywhere from 18 to 36 months.


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Initiating COBRA Coverage After Employment Termination

If you have left your job voluntarily or involuntarily due to qualifying events, you will also lose your health coverage. Depending on the situation, if you are entitled to elect COBRA continuation coverage, your employer must give you 60 days to choose whether you will use COBRA. All family members or any other beneficiaries of your insurance plan may independently elect COBRA continuation coverage, allowing each person to continue paying higher premiums to keep the insurance for 18 to 36 months. 

You will receive an election notice which will tell you your COBRA rights, with the following important information:

  • How to elect COBRA and the date by which the election must be made
  • How to notify the plan administrator of the election
  • The date COBRA will begin and the maximum time it will run for
  • How much you will have to pay per month, where to pay it, and the payment due date
  • Your legal rights and obligations 
  • All bases for early termination of your COBRA coverage

Follow the instructions you’re given within 60 days to receive coverage, which will be retroactive.

Financial Aspects of COBRA for Drug Rehab

When looking at Cobra insurance coverage for drug rehab, it’s important to note that even though you have the same coverage (with the same rules about deductibles and copayments), your insurance premiums through COBRA will likely cost more than you are used to. This is because your employer was paying a percentage of your premiums when you were at the company. Make sure you read through your COBRA election notice thoroughly before deciding, weighing out the cost of rehab treatments with the cost of insurance. 

Navigating the COBRA Enrollment Process for Rehab

Financially speaking, you should verify your Cobra insurance coverage for drug rehab before deciding which treatment center you want to go to. Your healthcare benefits may cover everything, or they may only pay for some in-network rehab services. Every insurance plan for addiction rehab is different, so going through your insurance agreement or talking to an insurance representative will give you a better understanding of what types of care will be paid for by your insurance. Some of the things you should know before starting addiction treatment with insurance include:

If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with an insurance rep or if you need help understanding what they’ve told you, you can call us at WhiteSands. Our staff is highly knowledgeable about all types of insurance plans and can help you determine your next step using clear, simple language. 

The Duration of COBRA Coverage and Planning Your Rehab Journey

COBRA insurance coverage for drug rehab only lasts for a limited period, between 18 to 36 months, depending on the type of qualifying event that caused you to lose coverage through your workplace. If you pay all the associated premiums on time, your COBRA coverage will start on the qualifying event date. 

  • If you’ve lost your job due to termination of employment, retirement, or reduction of employment hours, you’ll have COBRA coverage for 18 months. 
  • If you’ve lost your coverage due to divorce or legal separation from the covered employee, the death of the covered employee, or if the covered employee is now entitled to Medicare, you have 36 months. 
  • You may be eligible for an extension if you become disabled or if a second qualifying event occurs
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Advantages and Challenges of Using COBRA for Drug Rehab

The advantages of using COBRA insurance coverage for drug rehab are:

  • You can continue your treatments without interruption
  • Your coverage stays the same, so you don’t have to look for new healthcare providers
  • Drug costs and copays will stay the same
  • You won’t have to start with a new deductible amount until the end of the year, as normal

Some challenges you may face when using COBRA for drug rehab are:

  • Your premiums will be higher
  • Your coverage may be terminated early if your premiums are not paid in full, on time, even when you’re in rehab
  • Your coverage may be canceled if the employer stops offering a group health plan or changes health plans
  • Your coverage might be canceled if you become entitled to Medicare benefits while in treatment 
  • COBRA plans are only short-term plans that end after a specific period

How WhiteSands Treatment Can Assist with COBRA Coverage for Rehab

At WhiteSands Treatment, we verify your Cobra insurance coverage for drug rehab and customize your treatment plan to fit better what your insurance covers so you can get the most out of your stay with us, maximizing your insurance without breaking the bank. To verify your insurance coverage for addiction rehab or to find out more about our luxury rehab programs, medical detox, and inpatient vs. outpatient rehab, please call us today at 877-855-3470.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.