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  • Feb 20, 2009, 01:36 PM
    jkh
    Cobra how long does employer have?
    OK this insurance can be confusing. The last day of my coverage from my employers insurance was jan. 31. Although my last day working there was the last day in dec.

    I need to continue my insurance coverage. My question is how long does my employer have to send me the appropriate paperwork? I live in Texas, don't know of that matters or changes time frame. I have looked online and its confusing I can't figure out what's what.

    I have called my insurance company and they told me that either the company I worked for or an outside company would administer and that yes the company I worked for did offer cobra.

    The problem is I am 28 weeks pregnant and I need it now. Of course once I get the appropriate paperwork and premium paid it will back date but it's just a hassle. After contacting my former employer they did not know what to do or what the procedure was. And now of course when I call no one can answer or return my call.

    By law how long do they have to offer to me? What can I do to help speed along the process? Anyone else been in a similar situation?

    Thanks!
  • Feb 20, 2009, 02:08 PM
    Emland

    I work for a very small company. When someone who was on our policy resigns, I give them a copy of their cobra options when they pick up their last check. You should have paid your February premium if you were on COBRA by now I think.

    I will post the form letter I have here in a minute (I need to strip if of our info). It came from our provider and I would think it would be fairly universal.
  • Feb 20, 2009, 02:17 PM
    Emland
    COBRA CONTINUATION COVERAGE ELECTION NOTICE

    Subscriber
    Address
    City, state, zip

    Date


    Dear _______,

    This notice contains important information about your right to continue your health care coverage in the ABC HealthPlan. Please read the information contained in this notice very carefully.

    To elect COBRA continuation coverage, follow the instructions on the next page to complete the enclosed Election Form and submit it to us.

    If you do not elect COBRA continuation coverage, your coverage under the Plan will end on ____________ due to:

    £ End of employment £ Reduction in hours of employment
    £ Death of employee £ Divorce or legal separation
    £ Entitlement to Medicare £ Loss of dependent child status

    Each person (“qualified beneficiary”) in the category(ies) checked below is entitled to elect COBRA continuation coverage, which will continue group health care coverage under the Plan for up to18 months.

    £ Employee or former employee
    £ Spouse or former spouse
    £ Dependent child(ren) covered under the Plan on the day before the event that caused
    the loss of coverage
    £ Child who is losing coverage under the Plan because he or she is no
    longer a dependent under the Plan

    If elected, COBRA continuation coverage will begin on _____________ and can last until ___(18 months)__.
    COBRA continuation coverage will cost $X per month. You do not have to send any payment with the Election Form. Important additional information about payment for COBRA continuation coverage is included in the pages following the Election Form.

    If you have any questions about this notice or your rights to COBRA continuation coverage, you should contact HBA, your company name, address, city, state, zip.
    You will have the same rights under the Plan as other participants or beneficiaries covered under the Plan, including special enrollment rights.

    IMPORTANT INFORMATION
    ABOUT YOUR COBRA CONTINUATION COVERAGE RIGHTS

    What is continuation coverage?

    Federal law requires that most group health plans (including this Plan) give employees and their families the opportunity to continue their health care coverage when there is a “qualifying event” that would result in a loss of coverage under an employer's plan. Depending on the type of qualifying event, “qualified beneficiaries” can include the employee (or retired employee) covered under the group health plan, the covered employee's spouse, and the dependent children of the covered employee.

    Continuation coverage is the same coverage that the Plan gives to other participants or beneficiaries under the Plan who are not receiving continuation coverage. Each qualified beneficiary who elects continuation coverage
    will have the same rights under the Plan as other participants or beneficiaries covered under the Plan, including special enrollment rights.


    How long will continuation coverage last?

    In the case of a loss of coverage due to end of employment or reduction in hours of employment, coverage generally may be continued only for up to a total of 18 months. In the case of losses of coverage due to an employee's death, divorce or legal separation, the employee's becoming entitled to Medicare benefits or a dependent child ceasing to be a dependent under the terms of the plan, coverage may be continued for up to a total of 36 months. When the qualifying event is the end of employment or reduction of the employee's hours of employment, and the employee became entitled to Medicare benefits less than 18 months before the qualifying event, COBRA continuation coverage for qualified beneficiaries other than the employee lasts until 36 months after the date of Medicare entitlement. This notice shows the maximum period of continuation coverage available to the qualified beneficiaries.

    Continuation coverage will be terminated before the end of the maximum period if:

    any required premium is not paid in full on time,
    a qualified beneficiary becomes covered, after electing continuation coverage, under another group health plan that does not impose any pre-existing condition exclusion for a pre-existing condition of the qualified beneficiary,
    a qualified beneficiary becomes entitled to Medicare benefits (under Part A, Part B, or both) after electing continuation coverage, or
    the employer ceases to provide any group health plan for its employees.

    Continuation coverage may also be terminated for any reason the Plan would terminate coverage of a participant or beneficiary not receiving continuation coverage (such as fraud).
    How can you extend the length of COBRA continuation coverage?

    If you elect continuation coverage, an extension of the maximum period of coverage may be available if a qualified beneficiary is disabled or a second qualifying event occurs. You must notify Company HBA Administrator of a disability or a second qualifying event in order to extend the period of continuation coverage. Failure to provide notice of a disability or second qualifying event may affect the right to extend the period of continuation coverage.


    How can you extend the length of COBRA continuation coverage?

    Disability

    An 11-month extension of coverage may be available if any of the qualified beneficiaries is determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to be disabled. The disability has to have started at some time before the 60th day of COBRA continuation coverage and must last at least until the end of the 18-month period of continuation coverage. Each qualified beneficiary who has elected continuation coverage will be entitled to the 11-month disability extension if one of them qualifies. If the qualified beneficiary is determined by SSA to no longer be disabled, you must notify the Plan of that fact within 30 days after SSA's determination.

    Second Qualifying Event

    An 18-month extension of coverage will be available to spouses and dependent children who elect continuation coverage if a second qualifying event occurs during the first 18 months of continuation coverage. The maximum amount of continuation coverage available when a second qualifying event occurs is 36 months. Such second qualifying events may include the death of a covered employee, divorce or separation from the covered employee, the covered employee's becoming entitled to Medicare benefits (under Part A, Part B, or both), or a dependent child's ceasing to be eligible for coverage as a dependent under the Plan. These events can be a second qualifying event only if they would have caused the qualified beneficiary to lose coverage under the Plan if the first qualifying event had not occurred. You must notify the Plan within 60 days after a second qualifying event occurs if you want to extend your continuation coverage.

    How can you elect COBRA continuation coverage?

    To elect continuation coverage, you must complete the Election Form and furnish it according to the directions on the form. Each qualified beneficiary has a separate right to elect continuation coverage. For example, the employee's spouse may elect continuation coverage even if the employee does not. Continuation coverage may be elected for only one, several, or for all dependent children who are qualified beneficiaries. A parent may elect to continue coverage on behalf of any dependent children. The employee or the employee's spouse can elect continuation coverage on behalf of all of the qualified beneficiaries. In considering whether to elect continuation coverage, you should take into account that a failure to continue your group health coverage will affect your future rights under federal law. First, you can lose the right to avoid having pre-existing condition exclusions applied to you by other group health plans if you have more than a 63-day gap in health coverage, and election of continuation coverage may help you not have such a gap. Second, you will lose the guaranteed right to purchase individual health insurance policies that do not impose such pre-existing condition exclusions if you do not get continuation coverage for the maximum time available to you. Finally, you should take into account that you have special enrollment rights under federal law. You have the right to request special enrollment in another group health plan for which you are otherwise eligible (such as a plan sponsored by your spouse's employer) within 30 days after your group health coverage ends because of the qualifying event listed above. You will also have the same special enrollment right at the end of continuation coverage if you get continuation coverage for the maximum time available to you.

    How much does COBRA continuation coverage cost?

    Generally, each qualified beneficiary may be required to pay the entire cost of continuation coverage. The amount a qualified beneficiary may be required to pay may not exceed 102 percent (or, in the case of an extension of continuation coverage due to a disability, 150 percent) of the cost to the group health plan (including both employer and employee contributions) for coverage of a similarly situated plan participant or beneficiary who is not receiving continuation coverage. The required payment for each continuation coverage period for each option is described in this notice.

    When and how must payment for COBRA continuation coverage be made?

    First payment for continuation coverage

    If you elect continuation coverage, you do not have to send any payment with the Election Form. However, you must make your first payment for continuation coverage not later than 5 days after the date of your election. (This is the date the Election Notice is post-marked, if mailed.) If you do not make your first payment for continuation coverage in full not later than 5 days after the date of your election, you will lose all continuation coverage rights under the Plan. You are responsible for making sure that the amount of your first payment is correct. You may contact HBA Administrator info to confirm the correct amount of your first payment.

    Periodic payments for continuation coverage

    After you make your first payment for continuation coverage, you will be required to make periodic payments for each subsequent coverage period. The amount due for each coverage period for each qualified beneficiary is shown in this notice. The periodic payments can be made on a monthly basis. Under the Plan, each of these periodic payments for continuation coverage is due on the first of each month] for that coverage period. If you make a periodic payment on or before the first day of the coverage period to which it applies, your coverage under the Plan will continue for that coverage period without any break. The Plan will not send periodic notices of payments due for these coverage periods.

    Grace periods for periodic payments

    Although periodic payments are due on the dates shown above, you will be given a grace period of 3 days after the first day of the coverage period to make each periodic payment. Your continuation coverage will be provided for each coverage period as long as payment for that coverage period is made before the end of the grace period for that payment. However, if you pay a periodic payment later than the first day of the coverage period to which it applies, but before the end of the grace period for the coverage period, your coverage under the Plan will be suspended as of the first day of the coverage period and then retroactively reinstated (going back to the first day of the coverage period) when the periodic payment is received. This means that any claim you submit for benefits while your coverage is suspended may be denied and may have to be resubmitted once your coverage is reinstated.

    If you fail to make a periodic payment before the end of the grace period for that coverage period, you will lose all rights to continuation coverage under the Plan.

    Your first payment and all periodic payments for continuation coverage should be sent to:

    Company HBA info

    For more information

    This notice does not fully describe continuation coverage or other rights under the Plan. More information about continuation coverage and your rights under the Plan is available in your summary plan description or from the Plan Administrator.

    If you have any questions concerning the information in this notice, your rights to coverage, or if you want a copy of your summary plan description, you should contact HBA info.

    For more information about your rights under ERISA, including COBRA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and other laws affecting group health plans, contact the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) in your area or visit the EBSA website at www.dol.gov/ebsa. (Addresses and phone numbers of Regional and District EBSA Offices are available through EBSA's website.)

    Keep Your Plan Informed of Address Changes

    In order to protect your and your family's rights, you should keep the Plan Administrator informed of any changes in your address and the addresses of family members. You should also keep a copy, for your records, of any notices you send to the Plan Administrator.
  • Feb 20, 2009, 02:20 PM
    Emland
    Those british pound signs are check mark squares in my text.

    The COBRA should have started when your workplan ended. Since it is within 30 days, you should be able to get onto the plan.
  • Feb 20, 2009, 05:59 PM
    Fr_Chuck

    You have 60 days from the event that triggered Cobra to notify them that you want the coverage.

    COBRA Insurance FAQ's must the Initial Notice be sent to Covered Employees and Spouses?


    Also the company notifies the plan administor ( that is normally the insurance company) but can be someone in HR that handles the plan details.

    If they do not notify you properly, the fine is 110 dolalrs a day on the company, so they better get you notified
  • Mar 9, 2009, 07:41 PM
    sunny1ib
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jkh View Post
    ok this insurance can be confusing. the last day of my coverage from my employers insurance was jan. 31. although my last day working there was the last day in dec.

    i need to continue my insurance coverage. my question is how long does my employer have to send me the appropriate paperwork? i live in texas, dont know of that matters or changes time frame. i have looked online and its confusing i can't figure out what's what.

    i have called my insurance company and they told me that either the company i worked for or an outside company would administer and that yes the company i worked for did offer cobra.

    the problem is i am 28 weeks pregnant and i need it now. of course once i get the appropriate paperwork and premium paid it will back date but it's just a hassle. after contacting my former employer they did not know what to do or what the procedure was. and now of course when i call no one can answer or return my call.

    by law how long do they have to offer to me? what can i do to help speed along the process? anyone else been in a similiar situation?

    thanks!


    I am REALLY hoping that you got the response to your question by now! If not, here is some food for thought:

    COBRA, while it is a federally mandated provision, only applies to a certain size group. Every state in the U.S.A. may have mandates in place for health continuation. For example, I live in Florida, employer group sizes below 20 employees are mandated to provide notification to the terminated employee of their right for health continuation. Depending upon who administers your employer's (former) plan, will be the decisive date as to when your election period ceases. For example, if your last date of employment was 12/31/08, and you didn't received your COBRA notice until 2/22/09, (here in Florida) and regardless of employer size, your COBRA election period will BEGIN on the date the notification took place.

    It is very important for you to know that your EFFECTIVE date (that is, the date you will be reinstated after your termination date from the group plan) can be in arrears and you will be REQUIRED to make up for all past premiums.

    Now with the new American Recovery and Rehabilitation Act, depending upon HOW your termination took place (e.g. your employer terminated you), you may qualify for the COBRA premium subsidy.

    Yes, there are penalties to your former employer, and LOTS of frustration for you - I would STRONGLY encourage you to contact your HR person and get that notification STAT!

    I am not an attorney and the information contained in this post does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice, please contact an attorney who specializes in Employee Law.
  • Mar 10, 2009, 05:11 AM
    Emland

    The new legislation also requires that the employer pay 65% of your premium.
  • Aug 9, 2010, 07:03 AM
    yorkmalt
    WHat legislation is that? They have to pay 65% of the premium? Help. I was just wrongfully terminated.. politics and they're trying to fight unemployment using this bogus reason. I still haven't received COBRA info and just got a letter offering me no contest to unemployment and COBRA.. if I sign their "I won't sue letter". Can they do that?
  • Aug 13, 2010, 02:21 PM
    jef1056

    You are looking at a March discusion. The 65% subsidy has ended as of May 31.
    COBRA is a federal regulation for companies with 20 or more employees and needs to be offered to you unless you were termed for gross misconduct. They have 44 days to notify you. Some states have similar regulations for employer with under 20 employees.
  • Apr 12, 2011, 12:24 PM
    HRAsst
    The law states that COBRA offers must be mailed. Companies are required to maintain proof they offerred, or have a system to offer, COBRA- we sent certified mail, return receipt requested, when handling it in-house. Currently we use a service that does it all for us.
  • Apr 12, 2011, 12:26 PM
    HRAsst
    Comment on HRAsst's post
    This was posted after reading another answer stating the employer handed out COBRA offers when people picked up their final check.
  • Aug 15, 2012, 07:10 AM
    TRolls10
    http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq-consumer-cobra.html

    Plan participants and beneficiaries generally must be sent an election notice not later than 14 days after the plan administrator receives notice that a qualifying event has occurred. The individual then has 60 days to decide whether to elect COBRA continuation coverage. The person has 45 days after electing coverage to pay the initial premium.

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