Continuing Under COBRA

A Federal law known as “COBRA” requires that most employers sponsoring group health plans offer employees and their families (“qualified beneficiaries”) the opportunity to elect and pay for a temporary extension of health coverage called “continuation coverage” at group rates in certain instances (“qualifying events”) where coverage under the employer’s health plan would otherwise end.  This notice is intended to inform you, in a summary fashion, of your rights and obligations under the continuation coverage provisions of that law.  (Both you and your spouse should take time to read this notice carefully.)  Under the Plan, qualified beneficiaries who elect COBRA continuation coverage must pay for the coverage.

If you are an employee of the Plan Sponsor (Boston University) covered by one of the medical options maintained by the Plan Sponsor (the “Plan”), you will become a qualified beneficiary if you lose your group health coverage because either one of the following qualifying events happens:

  • Your hours of employment are reduced, or
  • Your employment ends for any reason other than your gross misconduct.

If you are the spouse of an employee covered by the Plan, you will become a qualified beneficiary if you lose your coverage under the Plan because any one of the following qualifying events happens:

  • Your spouse dies;
  • Your spouse’s employment ends for any reason other than his or her gross misconduct;
  • Your spouse’s hours of employment are reduced;
  • You become divorce or legally separated from your spouse; or
  • Your spouse becomes entitled to Medicare (under Part A, Part B, or both).

Your dependent children will become qualified beneficiaries if they lose coverage under the Plan, because any one of the following qualifying events happens:

  • The parent-employee dies;
  • The parent-employee’s hours of employment are reduced;
  • The parent-employee’s employment ends for any reason other than his or her gross misconduct;
  • The parents become divorced or legally separated;
  • The parent-employee becomes entitled to Medicare benefits (Part A, Part B, or both); or
  • The child ceases to be eligible for coverage under the Plan as a “dependent child”.

Sometimes, filing a proceeding in bankruptcy under title 11 of the United States Code can be a qualifying event.  If a proceeding in bankruptcy is filed with respect to the Plan Sponsor and that bankruptcy results in the loss of coverage of any retired employee covered under the Plan, the retired employee will become a qualified beneficiary with respect to the bankruptcy.  The retired employee’s spouse or surviving spouse and dependent children will also become qualified beneficiaries if bankruptcy results in the loss of their coverage under the Plan.

If You Have Questions
More complete information regarding your COBRA continuation coverage rights is available from the Plan Administrator.  For more information about your rights under ERISA, including COBRA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and other laws affecting group health plans, contact the nearest Regional or District Office of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) in your area or visit the EBSA website at www.dol.gov/ebsa.  (Addresses and phone numbers of Regional and District EBSA Offices are available through EBSA’s website.)

Keep Your Plan Informed of Address Changes
In order to protect your family’s rights, you should keep the Benefits Section of Human Resources  informed of any changes in the addresses of family members.  You should also keep a copy, for your records, of any notices you send to the plan administrator.

Plan Contact Information
Human Resources
Boston University
25 Buick Street
Boston, MA  02215
(617) 353-2380