Eligibility & Enrollment

In general, you and each covered dependent are eligible to elect continuation of the plan coverage in effect when you no longer qualify for Princeton benefits. Types of qualifying events are: 
Qualifying Events
Covered Individual(s)
Length of COBRA Coverage
Your employment ends
Your hours are reduced
You and your enrolled dependents
Up to 18 months
Divorce or legal separation from your spouse or same-sex domestic partner
Your death
Your spouse or same–sex domestic partner
Up to 36 months
Your death
Loss of dependent eligibility under the University’s health care plans
Your children
Up to 36 months

COBRA Notification & Election Period

While the University’s benefit plans are very generous, and enrollment and benefit changes are easy to accomplish with COBRA, its guidelines and rules must be followed explicitly, because it is governed by federal regulations.
PayFlex Systems will notify you of eligibility for COBRA insurance within 30 days of the date you are no longer eligible for University benefits, called a qualifying event. You must return this form to PayFlex within 60 days of receiving this notice or within 60 days after your University benefits end, whichever is later. These 60 days are called the election period.
During the 60–day election period, which may be shorter if your election form is processed earlier, you will not be covered by COBRA insurance. However, once you are covered and pay your first premium, the COBRA insurance is effective retroactive to the date your health care coverage with the University ended.
For example, if you go to the doctor before your COBRA coverage begins, you may be required to pay for your service. Then, you would submit a claim form to your health insurance carrier in order to be reimbursed for the cost of the physician services.
The plan does not provide an extension of the election period beyond the date required by COBRA. 

Enrollment & Options 

You don’t have to enroll in COBRA insurance, it’s up to you.
You have the option to arrange for a temporary extension of your health benefits, normally 18 months, when your benefits–eligible employment terminates and your health insurance coverage otherwise would end. 


You have four choices regarding COBRA coverage at the time you initially enroll: 
  1. Continue enrollment in the plan that was in effect when either your employment ended or your work hours were reduced.
  2. Change the number of covered dependents enrolled in the plan. For example, change from “employee and family” coverage to “employee only” coverage.
  3. Continue coverage for one or more of your covered dependents, even if you choose to discontinue your own coverage.
  4. Waive continuation of coverage. 
During the Open Enrollment period after you begin COBRA coverage, you can make changes to your coverage. The same plan provisions that apply to active employees and their dependents will apply to you and your dependents, including the effective date and premiums.
You can add a newborn child or newly adopted child as your dependent, if you contact PayFlex Systems within 31 days of the birth or adoption. 


Medical, Dental Vision Plans

If you and/or your dependents are enrolled in a Princeton University medical, dental and/or vision care plan, you or your dependents can continue coverage in that plan. You can stop coverage at any time during the COBRA period.
If you have contributed pretax dollars to a Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (HFSA), you can continue contributions on an after–tax, month–by–month basis through the end of the calendar year. 
You pay your same monthly contribution plus a two percent administrative charge. Your account will remain open until the end of the calendar year or when you stop making a monthly contribution.
For information about the status of your HFSA, please contact PayFlex Systems at (800) 284-4885.
COBRA is a law. It is not an endorsed insurance plan or company. Answers and comments provided on the Princeton University's HR website are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice.
You can count on support from knowledgeable and responsive HR staff when you have a benefits question or problem. Just call or e-mail us. We’re here to help!
While the University intends to continue each of the benefit plans, the University reserves the right to terminate or amend any plan, at any time, and for any reason.