ABCs of COBRA
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
COBRA is the Consolidation Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which gives eligible employees, spouses and other dependents continued coverage under their group health plans, typically for a period of up to 18 months after a “qualifying event” such as an employee’s death, termination from employment, reduced employment hours or entitlement to Medicare. COBRA coverage typically costs up to 102% of the premium paid while the person was an employee but is usually lower than the cost of an individual health plan.
Qualification rests on three elements: plan coverage, usually for group health plans of private employers with 20 or more employees on more than half of its typical business days in the prior calendar year OR an employee organization OR a local/state government; qualified beneficiaries, usually including the employer, the spouse, the dependents; qualifying events, depending on whether the beneficiary is the employee, his/her spouse and/or his/her child.
DO’S AND DON’TS
DO expect an “election notice” after a qualifying event, such as an employee’s death, termination from employment, reduced employment hours or entitlement to Medicare.
DO elect to participate or not within 60 days after receiving the “election notice.”
DO pay your first COBRA premium within 45 days of your election to participate.
DO find other more detailed requirements are found at the Department of Labor’s COBRA web page here: http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/cobra.htm
By Kathy Catanzarite
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.
EMPLOYEE BENEFITS/LABOR LAW DOS AND DON'TS