COBRA eligibility - minimum time of employment required or really just "day before"?

Is there a minimum time in service with an employer before the employee becomes eligible for COBRA (health insurance) coverage upon a qualifying event? From what I’ve read, the only requirement is that the employee was covered on the “day before” the qualifying event.

Consider the scenario where Jane takes a new job with good health insurance starting day one, but is concerned that she will be in a probationary period for 90 days when termination is possible. Jane is considering keeping her current insurance (provided under COBRA from her last employer) “just in case”.

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You are eligible for COBRA if you’re covered under the plan for at least one day.

Note that COBRA applies to group plans of over 20 people. So small group plans aren’t going to get COBRA.

Yes, that’s the document (among others) where I got the “day before” language. Thanks for confirming.

It’s not what you asked, but keep in mind - COBRA can be activated retroactively. If you enroll in COBRA before the 60 day election period is up, the coverage is then retroactive as long as you pay the retroactive premiums. Can be “free” insurance (if you don’t need to use it).


Also, if Jane starts with the new employer on May 1st, and holds off on making her May COBRA payment (for the old employer), she could actually stay on the old employer’s insurance by making the payment by May 31st.