What is a Second Qualifying Event under COBRA?

What is considered a Second Qualifying Event and what does that do for the length of my COBRA coverage?
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  • Second qualifying events are an extension of your COBRA from 18 months to 36 months due to the dependent losing coverage from the employee. This only benefits the dependent of the COBRA plan, the employee can never be eligible. The following events can qualify as a second qualifying event:

    Death of Employee
    Divorce/Legal Separation
    Loss of dependent status (age 26 or 29 in New York)

    Entitlement to medicare can never qualify as a second qualifying event.

    John Smith loses his job and is entitled to COBRA with his wife Jane Smith for 18 months on the beginning of January. Four months into COBRA, John and Jane Smith have a divorce finalized on April 1st. John Smith's account will continue for another 14 months. Jane Smith will be removed from John Smith's account and placed on her own account effective April 1st. Her COBRA will expire in 32 months.
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