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COBRA Coverage

When your postdoctoral scholar assignment with Stanford ends, your:

Medical, dental, vision and Postdoc Assistance Program benefits end on the last day of the month in which you end your postdoc appointment.

  • Short and long term disability, life insurance, and the basic and extended travel assistance program terminate on your appointment end date.
  • If you are disabled when coverage ends, your termination of coverage will not affect benefits for which you are eligible under the disability plans.

You have the right to continue your current health benefits: Stanford HealthCare Alliance (SHCA), Aetna Choice POS II, Delta Dental PPO, VSP Vision, and the Postdoc Assistance Program under the United States Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) when your appointment ends for any reason other than gross misconduct.

COBRA contains provisions giving former postdoctoral scholars, spouses/registered domestic partners, and their dependent children the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates. If you or your dependents are enrolled in the Stanford HealthCare Alliance (SHCA), Aetna Choice POS II, Delta Dental PPO, VSP Vision, and/or the Postdoc Assistance Program at the time your appointment ends, COBRA may be an option to continue your coverage.


How do I begin this process?

Please refer to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) website for important information about ending your appointment. It is important that your department administrator is informed of you leaving Stanford so that the proper termination form can be processed by OPA. Benefits do not end until the Postdoc Benefits Office receives an approved termination form from OPA. Your COBRA packet will be delayed if we don't receive notification of your termination in a timely manner.

Once we have processed your termination, you will receive COBRA enrollment information from our 3rd party COBRA administrator, Benelogic, at the address in Benelogic at the time your appointment ended. If you are relocating, or your address has changed, you must provide a forwarding address to your department administrator in order to receive COBRA information in a timely manner. You have 60 days from the first day of COBRA eligibility to enroll in COBRA benefits.

Please Note – For short gaps in coverage

  • You have 60 days to enroll in COBRA
  • If you find that you never need to seek medical care within those 60 days you never need to enroll
  • If you find that within those 60 days you do need medical insurance, then you can retro-enroll in COBRA back to your first date of eligibility for the program
  • You pay the full cost of your medical insurance – no more subsidies from Stanford – plus a 2% administrative fee
  • Before enrolling in COBRA, figure out if the cost of COBRA is more than the actual costs of the medical care you’re receiving

If you do not receive COBRA information within 30 days of your appointment end date, please contact the Postdoc Benefits Office at postdocbenefits@stanford.edu.

How much does it cost?

Stanford subsidizes the premium for active postdocs while COBRA participants pay the entire premium themselves plus a 2% administration fee.

Who can receive these benefits?

A spouse/domestic partner or dependent(s) who was covered by the Stanford Postdoctoral health plans at the time your appointment ended is eligible for COBRA coverage. You may choose to enroll only a spouse/domestic partner and/or child in COBRA even though you choose not to cover yourself.

How long does COBRA coverage last?

You can continue COBRA benefits for up to 18 months.

When does my postdoc coverage end?

Medical, dental, and vision insurance, and the Postdoc Assistance Program are effective until the last day of the month in which the appointment ends. Short and long term disability, life insurance, and travel insurance terminate on the appointment end date.

Examples of coverage end dates:

  • Appointment end date of June 1: medical, dental, and vision insurance terminate on June 30
  • Appointment end date of June 15: medical, dental, and vision insurance terminate on June 30
  • Appointment end date of June 30:  medical, dental, and vision insurance terminate on June 30