The following information is intended to help our members understand: what COBRA is, the rules of eligibility for COBRA coverage, what the monthly rate of COBRA coverage is, and the time frames associated with being notified of your eligibility for COBRA benefits as well as how long you as the member have to elect and pay for COBRA coverage with the plan.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events. Individuals can elect and pay for COBRA coverage for up to 18 months. Extensions are available in certain cases. Please contact the Fund office for questions regarding the extension of COBRA coverage beyond 18 months.
The first requirement of qualification for COBRA health insurance coverage is that a member was previously covered by the employer’s health insurance plan. According to COBRA law, qualifying beneficiaries include the employee who has been terminated for a qualifying reason, the spouse of the employee who has been terminated, the children of the employee who has been terminated, and any child who is born after COBRA coverage has begun or any child adopted into the family. The loss of employment must be a qualifying event. A qualifying event includes involuntary or voluntary termination and/or a reduced amount of work hours due to no fault of your own. Qualifying events for the spouse of an employee include divorce or separation from the employee, death of the employee and the employee becoming eligible for Medicare. The qualifying events for dependent children are the same as those of the employee and the employee’s spouse with one exception. If the child loses their status as a dependent while under the coverage of COBRA, they are eligible to file for COBRA coverage on their own.
The Fund is required by law to mail a terminated member their COBRA Election Notice within 44 days of the member’s termination date. Once the member receives their COBRA packet, s/he has 60 days from the post-mark to notify the plan they want to elect COBRA.