Be the Boss Over Cancer

As mentioned in the last blog, Joanna Morales, Director of the Cancer Legal Resource Center, was the speaker at our recent "Legal and Insurance Questions Answered" conference. See below for some more of her responses to popular questions:

I have a question about young adults. Full-time college students with a cancer diagnosis are covered by their parents plan, but then may need to stop school in order to have their cancer treatment, causing their parent's plans drop them. Are they in anyway eligible for COBRA through that plan?

Last year we had a federal law passed called Michelle's Law and it was created specifically to address that situation. Previously in order to stay on a parent's policy after a child has graduated from high school, the clause in the parent's policy typically says that children have to maintain full-time student status in order to be eligible for coverage under their policy. So even if a student was diagnosed with a serious medical condition, they would have to keep a full load of classes in order to keep their health insurance. Michelle's Law which was passed last year says that a child with a serious medical condition gets an additional year of health insurance coverage and they don't have to maintain their full-time student status. Once that year of coverage expires, if the student still isn't able to return to full-time student status, then they are eligible for COBRA coverage for up to 36 months.

If your new job has an exclusionary or waiting period where your benefits don't start until after three months and you continue COBRA, does the COBRA count towards your creditable coverage* time?

Yes, your COBRA does count towards your creditable coverage time, and also that 90-day waiting period for eligibility of benefits is very common at a new employer. The benefit to that is if your employer imposes a six-month exclusion period on the new health insurance plan, the three months that you're waiting to get eligibility for benefits actually counts towards your exclusionary period. Also, as long as you don’t have a break longer than 63 days, you could be on active treatment and it won’t affect the creditable coverage.

* Creditable coverage is any previous period of health insurance coverage that was not interrupted by a break in coverage of more than 63 days. For more information please click here:

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