COBRA for Surviving Dependents

COBRA for Surviving Dependents

Yes. In an event such as death of an employee, COBRA allows you to continue your health and optional coverage (dental and/or vision insurance) for up to 36 months.

You can continue insurance coverage through COBRA for up to 36 months after you lose eligibility as a dependent, as long as you do not:

  • have other group health, dental or vision insurance and
  • become eligible for Medicare.
If you are enrolled in Medicare when you become eligible for COBRA, you can continue your COBRA coverage for the maximum allowed period. Medicare is your primary insurance, and your COBRA coverage is secondary. You should keep Medicare because it is responsible for paying the majority of your health care costs. 
You can add dependents who previously were not enrolled in coverage during annual benefits enrollment periods. You also may add dependents to your coverage within 31 days of a qualifying life event (QLE), such as a birth. Inform ERS within 31 days of the QLE to add the eligible dependent. You will have to provide documentation proving the dependent is eligible for coverage.

COBRA Rates for Plan Year 2021

(September 1, 2020 - August 31, 2021)

Health Premium Cost

Plan Name You Only You & Spouse You & Child(ren) You & Family
HealthSelect of Texas® $634.22 $1,363.60 $1,122.55 $1,851.93
Consumer Directed HealthSelectSM $588.32 $1,235.34 $1,006.33 $1,699.26
Community First Health Plans $557.61 $1,198.87 $986.95 $1,628.21
Scott and White Health Plans $631.32 $1,357.35 $1,117.41 $1,843.44

If you are a tobacco-user, a tobacco-user premium is added to your health premium cost.

Dental Premium Cost

Plan Name You Only You & Spouse You & Child(ren) You & Family
DeltaCare® USA DHMO $9.78 $19.56 $23.48 $33.24
State of Texas Dental ChoiceSM $27.75 $55.51 $66.61 $94.36

Vision Premium Cost

Membership Level You Only You & Spouse You & Child(ren) You & Family
State of Texas VisionSM $5.22 $10.44 $11.23 $16.45

Tobacco-user Premium

Tobacco-users of Any Age and Adults Who Fail to Certify Member or Spouse or Children* Only Member + Spouse or Member + Children* or Spouse + Children* Family (Member + Spouse + Children*)
Monthly Tobacco-user Premium $30 $60 $90

*The charge for a child is the same regardless of how many children in the household use tobacco or how many covered children 18 or over are not certified.

COBRA Rates for Plan Year 2020

(September 1, 2019 - August 31, 2020)

Rates include 2% administrative fee.

Health Premium Cost

Plan Name You Only You & Spouse You & Child(ren) You & Family
HealthSelect of Texas® $635.05 $1,365.37 $1,124.04 $1,854.36
Consumer Directed HealthSelectSM $589.15 $1,237.06 $1,007.78 $1,701.58
Community First Health Plans $558.35 $1,200.46 $988.26 $1,630.37
Scott and White Health Plan $632.16 $1,359.13 $1,118.90 $1,845.87

If you are a tobacco user, tobacco-user premium is added to your health premium cost.

Dental Premium Cost

Plan Name You Only You & Spouse You & Child(ren) You & Family
DeltaCare® USA DHMO $9.78 $19.56 $23.48 $33.24
State of Texas Dental ChoiceSM $27.75 $55.51 $66.61 $94.36

Delta Dental administers the State of Texas Dental Choice PlanSM (PPO)

Vision Premium Cost

Membership Level You Only You & Spouse You & Child(ren) You & Family
State of Texas VisionSM $5.22 $10.44 $11.23 $16.45

Tobacco-user Premium

Tobacco-users of Any Age and Adults Who Fail to Certify Member or Spouse or Children* Only Member + Spouse or Member + Children* or Spouse + Children* Family (Member + Spouse + Children*)
Monthly Tobacco-user Premium $30 $60 $90

*The charge for a child is the same regardless of how many children in the household use tobacco or how many covered children 18 or over are not certified.

When determining your monthly premium for continuation coverage under COBRA, note the following:

  • If only one dependent child is continuing coverage, then the child is the COBRA applicant. Pay the “You Only” rate.
  • If multiple children are continuing coverage, the youngest child is the COBRA applicant. Pay the “You & Child(ren)” rate.
  • If only the dependent spouse is continuing coverage, the spouse is the COBRA applicant. Pay the “You (COBRA Applicant) Only” rate.
  • If the spouse and child(ren) are continuing coverage, the spouse is the COBRA applicant. Pay the “You & Child(ren)” rate.
  • If only surviving spouse or ex-spouse is continuing coverage, the spouse is the COBRA applicant. Pay the “You Only” rate.
  • If surviving spouse and children or ex-spouse and children are continuing coverage, the spouse is the COBRA applicant. Pay the “You & Children” rate.

Extending COBRA Coverage

Secondary Qualifying Events

The initial 18-month period of COBRA coverage may be extended up to 36 months for your dependents in the event of death, divorce or the loss of status as a dependent child during their initial COBRA eligibility period. For these situations, COBRA coverage cannot be continued beyond 36 months.

Adding New Coverage for a Dependent

You can add eligible dependents gained through a qualifying life event (QLE), such as a birth or adoption, during your annual benefits enrollment period or within 31 days of the QLE.

Disability Extension

If you or any of your dependents are certified as disabled (Title II or XVI), you may continue COBRA coverage for up to an additional 11 months. If you think you or your dependents qualify for this extension, send ERS a copy of your Social Security Administration Notice of Award letter including the date that the disability began (the disability date needs to include the month, date and year to be reviewed).

COBRA Coverage for Unmarried Children

If you have an unmarried dependent child, they may be eligible to extend their COBRA continuation coverage beyond the initial COBRA eligibility period. For more information, contact ERS toll-free at (877) 275-4377, TTY: 711.

Yes, ask your health, dental and/or vision plan administrator about a private policy after your insurance through COBRA ends. ERS will notify you 45 days before your COBRA coverage ends. At that time, contact your plan administrator for information about another policy. You can also check options available through the Health Insurance Marketplace at www.HealthCare.gov.

Yes. After your first 36 months of COBRA continuation coverage as a surviving dependent, you may extend your health, dental and/or vision coverage as a "Former COBRA Unmarried Child" (FCUC). You must remain unmarried for this continuation.  

Covered dependents who turn 26 years old are no longer eligible for coverage under the GBP. They are eligible for up to 36 months of COBRA continuation coverage. After 36 months of coverage, if you are not married, you may be eligible for coverage indefinitely as a FCUC.

This coverage ends if you: 

  • marry,
  • enroll in other group health insurance coverage, for instance as an employee,
  • stop paying premiums or 
  • request that the coverage be cancelled.
One month before your COBRA coverage expires, ERS will mail you an Insurance Enrollment Application for Former COBRA Unmarried Children. Complete the form and mail it to ERS before your COBRA coverage expires. Participants are required to certify their unmarried status.
Send your COBRA enrollment and first premium payment to ERS. Make your check or money order payable to Texas Employees Group Benefits Program or Texas GBP. ERS will not send you a bill or reminder notice. Payments are due on the first of each month. Your monthly premium payment must be postmarked within 30 days of the due date or your coverage will be automatically cancelled retroactive to the last day of the month that ERS received a full premium payment that was not considered delinquent. ERS will notify you in writing if your coverage is cancelled.

To have premiums automatically deducted through a bank draft, complete the Automatic Withdrawal/Cancellation of Insurance Premiums form and return it to ERS. Depending on when you elect COBRA coverage, you may need to send ERS a premium payment before we can begin automatically deducting the monthly payment from your account.
To apply for continued coverage for a dependent child who is disabled, complete the Application to Request or Renew Health Coverage for a Disabled Dependent Child (At Age 26 and Over). Send the completed form to ERS for review up to 90 days before your dependent child's coverage expiration date. ERS will notify you of its decision.

Your coverage under COBRA continues to the end of the month you begin work, and you must pay the full COBRA premium for that month.

Note: New employees covered through the GBP may be subject to a waiting period with their employer before their health insurance coverage can begin. If you do not pay the full COBRA premium to continue your health coverage for the month you are reemployed, ERS will cancel your COBRA continuation coverage.