COBRA can be confusing. Let Benecon handle the details.
For many employers, trying to follow all of the COBRA-specific guidelines can be confusing and time consuming. Benecon’s COBRA Services Division can administer all of the details; from sending initial notices and tracking COBRA payments to answering all of your employees’ questions with our dedicated customer service team.
What is COBRA health insurance?
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.
When you lose employer-based insurance because you’ve lost or quit your job, aged out of your parents’ health insurance or gotten a divorce, you may be eligible for COBRA continuation coverage, which allows covered employees, their spouses, former spouses and dependent children to temporarily keep the same health plan, benefits and services you had before. Your employer should send you and your family a notice that you are eligible for COBRA, outlining your COBRA rights and how much it will cost.
In 1985, COBRA amended the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Internal Revenue Code and the Public Health Service Act to require group health plans to provide a temporary continuation of group health coverage that otherwise might be terminated. The law applies to all group health plans offered by private-sector employers with 20 or more employees as well as by state or local governments. The U.S. Department of Labor oversees COBRA compliance. The Departments of Labor and Treasury have jurisdiction over private-sector group health plans, while the Department of Health and Human Services administers the continuation coverage law as it applies to state and local governmental health plans.
How long do I have to decide if I want COBRA coverage?
You will have an election period of at least 60 days to decide whether to continue your health plan with COBRA or to seek coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, through a spouse’s employer or Medicaid. The 60 days is counted from the date of the COBRA offering letter or the date of termination, whichever is later.
How long does COBRA coverage last?
By law, COBRA continuation coverage can extend from between 18 to 36 months, depending on the type of qualifying event. Certain plans may provide longer periods of coverage. The Pennsylvania State COBRA coverage is a maximum of 9 months.
What counts as a qualifying event for COBRA?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the following are qualifying events for covered employees:
- Termination of the employee’s employment for any reason other than gross misconduct
- Reduction in the number of hours of employment
The following are qualifying events for the spouse and dependent child of a covered employee:
- Termination of the covered employee’s employment for any reason other than gross misconduct
- Reduction in the hours worked by the covered employee
- Covered employee becomes entitled to Medicare
- Divorce or legal separation of the spouse from the covered employee
- Death of the covered employee
- Loss of dependent child status under the plan rules (plans that offer coverage to children on their parents’ plan must make the coverage available until the adult child reaches the age of 26)
Benecon’s Online COBRA Administrative Services
- Online employer/participant access to letters and documents
- Expanded participant, employer and broker portals
- Ability for online payment (for select groups)
- Expanded reporting capabilities
- Real-time 24/7 access to notices, letters and payment status