What plans are covered under COBRA? All medical, dental, and vision plans offered by your employer are covered under COBRA. However, you can only continue the coverage you already had as a regular employee on the date you became eligible for COBRA benefits. For example, if you were enrolled in a medical plan and a vision plan, you can continue either or both of these plans under COBRA, but you cannot decide to add dental coverage as well.
Under COBRA, do I have to enroll in all of the medical, dental, and vision plans I have as an active employee?
Under COBRA, do I have to enroll in all of the medical, dental, and vision plans I had as an active employee? No, you may choose COBRA benefits for some, all, or none of the plans you had as an active employee. For example, if you had a medical plan and a dental plan as an employee, you can continue just the dental plan, just the medical plan, both plans, or neither plan under COBRA.
When do COBRA benefits begins? COBRA benefits begin on the same date you lose your regular employee status. There is no interruption in your health benefits coverage. If you originally decided against COBRA benefits, but then you change your mind within 60 days of the date you lose your regular employee status, your COBRA benefits will begin on the date you inform your employer that you do want COBRA benefits.
Can I choose one COBRA benefit option for myself and a different one for my eligible dependents? Yes, you and each eligible dependent can choose different COBRA benefits, as long as you already had that coverage under your employer's health insurance plan. For example, if you had medical and dental coverage for yourself and your spouse, you can choose one, both, or neither sets of benefits for yourself and your spouse.
How long do I have to decide whether I want to continue any or all of my employer-provided health insurance benefits under COBRA?
How long do I have to decide whether I want to continue any or all of my employer-provided health insurance benefits under COBRA? You and your eligible dependents have 60 days to tell your employer that you want COBRA benefits following: 1. The effective date of loss of employment for any reason other than gross misconduct, or your date of notification, whichever comes later.
2. Reduction in hours or layoff, and if your hours are reduced and then you're laid off, you have 60 days after the layoff date to decide. For example, if your hours are reduced on July 31st, and then you're laid off on August 31st, you have until 60 days after August 31st to decide.You cannot extend the deadline to elect COBRA.
I told my former employer that I didn't want COBRA benefits, but now I've changed my mind. Can I still get COBRA benefits?
I told my former employer that I didn't want COBRA benefits, but now I've changed my mind. Can I still get COBRA benefits? You have until 60 days after the date you received your COBRA benefits eligibility notice to accept, reject, or change your mind. As long as you're within the 60-day window, you can change your mind by informing your employer that you want COBRA benefits. Your coverage begins on the day you inform your employer that you want the benefits.
What happens to my Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and/or Dependent Care FSA? Health Care FSA
You can use the funds in your Health Care FSA to reimburse yourself for qualified health care expenses as long as you received the services on a date when you were covered under the FSA plan. If you received services before your layoff or termination, you need to submit your reimbursement claims right away, no later than the March 31st following the end of the plan year.
If you haven't received the services yet, and you still have funds in your Health Care FSA, you can keep using the funds until they're spent. You must receive the services on or before December 31st of the same year you lose your employment, and you must be active in the FSA plan when you receive the services. To continue your FSA eligibility, you must enroll in FSA COBRA with the FSA plan administrator.Dependent Care FSA After you lose your employment, you can use the funds in your Dependent Care FSA to reimburse yourself for qualified dependent care expenses. You must receive the services on or before December 31st of the same year you lose your employment. You need to submit your reimbursement claims right away, no later than the March 31st following the end of the plan year.
How long do COBRA benefits last?
|Employee, spouse, or dependent child||Voluntary or involuntary job termination (except termination for gross negligence) Reduction of work hours||18 months|
|Employee, spouse, or dependent child||Job termination or reduction of work hours, plus disability certified by the Social Security Administration||29 months|
|Spouse or dependent child||Divorce or legal separation Death of employee Loss of "Dependent Child" status Employee Medicare enrollment||36 months|
Are there any circumstances that would allow me to extend my COBRA benefits? Yes, you can extend COBRA benefits for yourself and your family if you become disabled within the first 60 days of COBRA coverage. To extend COBRA benefits, you must: 1. Obtain a ruling letter from the Social Security Administration that you became disabled within the first 60 days after you start COBRA benefits.
2. Send the insurance plan a copy of the Social Security ruling letter within 60 days of your receipt of the letter and before your 18-month continuation period expires.
If you meet these requirements, you and your eligible dependents are entitled to an additional 11 months of COBRA benefits, for a total of 29 months. The plan can charge you more for this extension, up to 150 percent of your premium.
If your spouse or dependent child experiences a second Qualifying Event during the initial 18 months of COBRA benefits, you can extend the benefits by an additional 18 months, for a total of 36 months. The second Qualifying Event for your spouse or child can be:Divorce or legal separation of a covered employee and spouse can be a second Qualifying Event only if it causes your spouse or dependent child to lose coverage under the plan in the absence of the first Qualifying Event. If a second Qualifying Event occurs, you will need to notify the plan.
- Death of a covered employee
- Divorce or legal separation of a covered employee and spouse
- A covered employee becoming entitled to Medicare
- Loss of Dependent Child status under the plan
Is there any way I could lose my COBRA benefits early? Your COBRA benefits can be terminated early if:
- You don't pay your premiums on time
- Your employer eliminates its group health insurance plan
- You get health insurance coverage with another employer
- You or another beneficiary becomes entitled to Medicare benefits
How much do COBRA benefits cost? The dollar amount depends on your plan. Some employers pay for part of their employees' health insurance benefits. Once you're no longer an employee, however, you may be responsible for the full cost of your premium, plus a small administrative fee, for a total premium of up to 102 percent of your full health insurance premium as an employee. If you extend the term of your COBRA benefits because of disability, you may be required to pay even more during the extension period---up to 150 percent of your initial COBRA premium.
Why is COBRA so expensive? COBRA is expensive because it's a group health plan. Every participant must be insured, regardless of health status. Also, while your employer may have paid part of your premium while you were an employee, under COBRA you are responsible for the full premium plus a small administrative fee.
When are my premiums due?
Your first premium is due 45 days after you decide to obtain COBRA benefits. After that, you are allowed to pay monthly, and some plans have other payment terms.
Your first premium will probably be higher than your regular premium because it usually takes a month or more between the date you become eligible for COBRA and the date you decide to continue your benefits under COBRA. For example, if you leave your employer on January 1st and decide to get COBRA coverage on February 1st, you'll be charged for both January and February in your first premium.You may not receive a monthly statement for your COBRA coverage, but you are still responsible for making your payments on time.
What if my employer ignores its COBRA obligations? There are severe penalties for COBRA noncompliance, including a fine of $100 per day for failure to notify an employee of his or her COBRA rights, and even the revocation of a company's tax deduction for its group health insurance plan. Employers can also be held liable for damages, including workers' compensation, medical costs, and legal fees.