"COBRA" stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. This law gives you and your covered dependents the right to continue your medical insurance coverage, dental insurance coverage, and/or Health Care Flexible Spending Account participation if you lose your benefits under certain circumstances.
Medical, Dental and vision
The chart below describes the circumstances in which you and/or your dependents can choose "Continuation of Coverage" as mandated by COBRA, and how long continued coverage for medical, dental and/or vision insurance can last. Continuation of Coverage lasts up to 18, 29 or 36 months, depending on the circumstances in which you lost coverage. If multiple circumstances apply, the maximum period that coverage can continue is a total of 36 months. You may lose coverage because of a qualifying event, which may include divorce, legal separation, death of a covered employee, reduction in work hours or termination.
|Maximum Continuation Period:|
|Reason Coverage Is Lost||Employee||Spouse||Child|
|Employee loses coverage because of reduced work hours||18 months||18 months||18 months|
|Employee terminates employment with the University for any reason (except gross misconduct)||18 months||18 months||18 months|
|Employee and spouse legally separate or divorce||N/A||36 months||N/A|
|Employee or dependent is disabled (as defined by Title II or XVI of the Social Security Act) at the time of or within 60 days of the qualifying event||29 months||29 months||29 months|
|Disabled employee becomes entitled to Medicare causing dependents to lose coverage||N/A||36 months||36 months|
|Child no longer qualifies as a dependent||N/A||N/A||36 months|
|Employee dies: Dental||N/A||36 months||36 months|
|Employee dies: Medical||N/A
|36 months||36 months|
Flexible Spending Acounts (FSAs)
You can continue your particiaption in your Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) through Continuation of Coverage if:
- You are participating in a HCFSA, you have money remaining in your account, and your employment is terminated, or
- You are participating in a HCFSA, you have money remaining in your account, and you change from a benefits-eligible status to a benefits-ineligible status.
Your regular HCFSA participation will end on the day your employment or benefits-eligible status terminates. If you elect to continue your participation through Continuation of Coverage, your HCFSA resumes as of your termination date or benefits-ineligible date. You will be billed on a monthly basis.
Your Continuation of Coverage for the HCFSA ends at the end of the calendar year or when you stop paying the monthly payments, whichever occurs first.
Dependent care spending account participation cannot be continued through COBRA.
Under Continuation of Coverage, you can maintain your medical, dental and/or vision insurance coverage at the rate the University pays for benefits plus a 2% administrative fee.
When you elect to continue your HCFSA participation, your contributions for the remainder of the calendar year are made on an after-tax basis.
To review current Continuation of Coverage rates, visit Compare Contribution Rates.
Applying for COBRA Continuation of Coverage
If your qualifying event is a reduction in hours or a termination of employment, you will be mailed information by Discovery Benefits, Inc. (DBI), the plan administrator, with instructions on how to elect Continuation of Coverage.
For any other qualifying event, you or a family member need to notify Benefits within 31 days of either the event or the date you lose coverage because of the event (whichever is later). You will be mailed information by DBI, the plan administrator, with instructions on how to elect Continuation of Coverage.
You and your eligible dependents have 60 days from the date you receive your instructions to notify DBI that you want continued coverage.
If you elect Continuation of Coverage through COBRA, the coverage begins the month after the date of your qualifying event, and you will be billed retroactively from that date. Contact DBI at (866)451-3399 regarding questions about COBRA coverage after you have applied.
Making changes to COBRA Continuation of Coverage
You may change your Continuation of Coverage:
- During Open Enrollment (except for the Health Care Flexible Spending Account); or
- Within 31 days of a qualifying life event such as marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child, etc.
DBI will require documentation for certain changes. Return a copy of the required documents to DBI within 31 days of the qualifying life event.
Ending COBRA Continuation of Coverage early
Examples of when Continuation of Coverage will end before the maximum continuation period, include:
- You or your dependent fail to make timely monthly payments.
- The University terminates the plan under which you elected Continuation of Coverage as mandated by COBRA.
Fro more information, contact DBI at (866)451-3399.