COBRA lasts for a limited period of either 18 or 36 months from the date of the qualifying event. The time depends on the particular type of qualifying event. However, a plan could provide a longer time of coverage than the maximum required by law.
Qualifying events for COBRA coverage include termination of an employee's employment for reasons other than gross misconduct and reduction in the number of employment hours if these events cause the employee to lose coverage. The COBRA program requires group health plans to provide temporary continuation of health care coverage that could otherwise be terminated. COBRA continuation coverage is frequently more expensive than group health coverage since the employer typically pays part of group health coverage. With COBRA, the entire amount can be charged to COBRA recipients.