Insurance qualifying event question

I’m starting with a new employer in November as a result of a layoff. My previous company is paying for COBRA for me for the next 6 months, and premiums at the new company are on the high side.

My question is if I can skip initial insurance enrollment at the new company and use the COBRA coverage for 6 months. Then use the end of the COBRA payments as a qualifying event to then sign up with the new plan in April 2021?

I suspect the answer is no because I wouldn’t actually be losing COBRA coverage, I’d just be losing the free coverage (I can start paying on my own at that point). Anyone happen to know the answer?

Employee benefits attorney here. You are correct that your new employer’s plan does not have to permit this. For googling purposes, you are looking for “HIPAA special enrollment rights,” 29 CFR 2590.701-6(a)(3). Make sure your new employer’s plan has a calendar year plan year; it it does, the best you could hope for is to pass on their coverage for November and December and enroll for 2021.

@planit Thank you!

Can you negotiate with your old company to pay you in advance the value of the 6 months of Cobra and use that to pay for the insurance with the new company? When my husband was let go of his last job they included 6 months of Cobra payments in his severance check.

That’s not a bad idea @kiddie