Continuing COBRA Coverage

When is COBRA Coverage Available?
The Plan will offer COBRA continuation coverage to qualified beneficiaries only after the Plan Administrator has been notified that a qualifying event has occurred.  When the qualifying event is the end of employment or reduction of hours of employment, death of the employee, or the employee’s becoming entitled to Medicare benefits (under Part A, Part B, or both), the Plan Sponsor must notify the Plan Administrator of the qualifying event.

You Must Give Notice of Some Qualifying Events
For the other qualifying events (divorce or legal separation of the employee and spouse, or a dependent child’s losing eligibility for coverage as a dependent child, etc.), you must notify the Plan Administrator within 60 days after the qualifying event occurs.  You must provide this notice to the Plan Contact listed at the end of this summary, along with documentation substantiating the divorce, legal separation or loss of dependent status and the effective date of such event.

A child who is born to or placed for adoption with the covered employee during a period of COBRA continuation coverage will be eligible to become a qualified beneficiary and be added to the covered employee’s COBRA continuation coverage. You must notify the Plan Administrator within 60 days after the birth or placement for adoption occurs.  You must provide this notice to the Plan Contact listed at the end of this summary, along with copies of legal documents substantiating the birth or placement for adoption and the effective date of such event.

How is COBRA Coverage Provided?
Once the Plan Administrator receives notice that a qualifying event has occurred, COBRA continuation coverage will be offered to each of the qualified beneficiaries.  Each qualified beneficiary will have an independent right to elect COBRA continuation coverage.  Covered employees may elect COBRA continuation coverage on behalf of their spouses, and parents may elect COBRA continuation coverage on behalf of their children. 

Under the law, you have at least 60 days from the date you would lose coverage because of one of the events described above to inform the Plan Administrator that you want to elect continuation coverage. If you do not elect continuation coverage, your group health coverage will end. If you elect continuation coverage, the Plan Sponsor is required to permit you to elect and purchase coverage which, as of the time coverage is being provided, is identical to the coverage provided under the Plan to similarly situated employees or family members.
When the qualifying event is the end of employment or reduction of the employee’s hours of employment, and the employee became entitled to Medicare benefits less than 18 months before the qualifying event, COBRA continuation coverage for qualified beneficiaries other than the employee lasts until 36 months after the date of Medicare entitlement.  For example, if a covered employee becomes entitled to Medicare 8 months before the date on which his employment terminates, COBRA continuation coverage for his spouse and children can last up to 36 months after the date of Medicare entitlement, which is equal to 28 months after the date of the qualifying event (36 months minus 8 months).

When the qualifying event is the death of the employee, the employee’s becoming entitled to Medicare benefits (under Part A, Part B, or both), your divorce, legal separation, or a dependent child’s losing eligibility as a dependent child, COBRA continuation coverage lasts for up to a total of 36 months.  Otherwise, when the qualifying event is the end of employment or reduction of the employee’s hours of employment, COBRA continuation coverage generally lasts for only up to a total of 18 months.  There are two ways in which this 18-month period of COBRA continuation coverage can be extended.