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Continuation of Health Care Coverage Under Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA)

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal law that requires most group health plans to provide a temporary continuation of group health coverage that otherwise might be terminated.

COBRA requires continuation coverage to be offered to covered employees and their covered dependents when group health coverage would otherwise be lost due to certain specific events. Those events include the death of a covered employee, termination or reduction in the hours of a covered employee's employment for reasons other than gross misconduct, divorce from a covered employee, a covered employee becoming entitled to Medicare, and a child's loss of dependent status (and therefore coverage) under the plan. 

The COBRA participant pays the full premium, since employer contributions no longer apply, plus a 2 percent administration fee. Specific information describing continuation coverage can be found in the Plan's summary plan description (SPD), which can be obtained from your health plan or WageWorks.

COBRA information packets are sent by the insurance carriers to terminating employees within 14 days of notification of termination from County service. The County's notification to the plans is through a biweekly listing issued after the employee's department processes the termination through the payroll system.

Group medical, dental, vision and basic\optional life insurance coverage (if enrolled) ceases the last day of the pay period in which the termination date falls and for which the employee experiences a regular insurance deduction or made direct payments to the Benefits Administration Unit (if on an unpaid leave of absence). If you exercise your rights under COBRA, upon receipt of your initial premium the insurance plan will reinstate your coverage retroactive to the group benefits termination date (without a gap).

The HIPAA certificates will be issued by your medical insurance carrier, at the same time the COBRA notice is issued. For more information, contact the insurance carrier.

The employee or a family member has the responsibility of directly informing the Benefits Administration Unit of a divorce, or a child losing dependent status. Requests must be made on a timely basis (no later than 45 days from the qualifying event). Basic\optional life insurance coverage is not subject to COBRA.

If covered under the basic or optional life plan, the terminating employee will have the opportunity to convert to a private policy without being subject to evidence of insurability and will receive a conversion notice by mail.  Employees may convert up to the volume of life insurance in force at the termination of employment, or convert amounts as determined by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

To obtain the life insurance conversion rates, contact the insurance carrier at the phone number listed on the conversion notice.

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