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COBRA

Notification, Election, and Covered Benefits

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How and When Must Qualified Beneficiaries Be Notified That They Are Eligible for COBRA?

  • A notice describing COBRA rights must be given to employees and their spouses at the time coverage commences.

  • The employer must notify the plan administrator within 30 days after an employee's death, termination, reduction in hours, or entitlement to Medicare.

  • A qualified beneficiary must notify the plan administrator within 60 days after divorce or legal separation or a child's ceasing to be covered as a dependent under plan rules.

  • Within 14 days of receiving notice of a qualifying event, plan administrators must in turn provide a notice to the qualified beneficiaries of their right to elect COBRA coverage.

How Long Does the Qualified Beneficiary Have to Elect Coverage Under COBRA?

Qualified beneficiaries must be given at least 60 days to elect coverage under COBRA. This is either 60 days from the date of loss of coverage or the date of the COBRA election notice, whichever is later.

Who May Elect Coverage?

  • Each beneficiary may elect COBRA coverage independently.

  • A covered employee or his or her spouse may elect coverage on behalf of other qualified beneficiaries.

  • A parent or legal guardian may elect coverage on behalf of a child.

  • If one waives coverage during the election period, he or she may revoke the waiver before the end of the election period. In that case, the coverage will begin on the day the waiver was revoked.

What Benefits Are Covered

  • Qualified beneficiaries generally must receive the same coverage they had before qualifying for COBRA.

  • A change in benefits for active employees also applies to qualified beneficiaries.

  • Qualified beneficiaries must be allowed to make the same changes to their plans as active employees.

More About COBRA...
Introduction to COBRA, Qualified Beneficiaries and Qualifying Events
Duration and Cost of COBRA Coverage, Where to Get More Information

Disclaimer: Please note that the information on this website is for guidance, ideas and assistance only. Dawn Rosenberg McKay makes every effort to offer accurate advice and information on this site. She is not, however, an attorney, and the content on the site is not to be construed as legal advice. Employment laws and regulations vary by location so check government resources or legal counsel when in doubt about your particular situation.

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