COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) is a federal program that makes sure employees covered under ERISA are not deprived of group health coverage after their original coverage is terminated.
A group health plan covers medical care (i.e., care related to the diagnosis, cure, treatment, or prevention of disease). A common misconception is that medical care includes disability insurance, but disability insurance only replaces wages that were lost as a result of the disability.
Yes. If you are covered by COBRA, your former employer must notify the administrator of the group health care plan that your job has ended within 30 days. Then, the administrator must notify you of the right to continue coverage within 14 days of being notified by your former employer. Continued coverage extends for a maximum period of 18 months thereafter.
There is no specified way that an employer must notify an employee about the option to continue coverage after the original coverage has terminated. The general rule is that the employer must make a good faith effort to notify the employee of the option. Accepted methods of notification include verbally notifying the employee or sending a written notice through the mail.
The notice must contain the following elements:
The 18 month allowance period for continued coverage is most commonly triggered by two "qualifying events":
NOTE: If an employee chooses to have continued coverage after a reduction in working hours, the employee CANNOT choose to restart their 18 month coverage period if they lose or quit their job with that employer afterwards.
If you think that your employer has violated your rights, then you should immediately consult an employment lawyer. A qualified lawyer will be able to advise you of your rights as an employee covered under COBRA and what kind of benefits you are entitled to. If you need to go to court to get your COBRA problem resolved, an attorney familiar with employee benefits rights can help prepare all the paperwork and represent you in court.
Last Modified: 07-28-2016 05:44 AM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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