Articles Posted in Messing with your Benefits

fadi-yousefLikely yes. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires employers (or their plan administrators) to notify qualified employees of their entitlement to the continuation of the same health coverage that they would have otherwise lost due to specific qualifying events, like a job loss. Failure to do so may expose the employer to statutory penalties of up to $110 per day, reimbursement of medical bills incurred by the employee, and the employee’s attorneys’ fees and costs.

COBRA requires temporary continuation coverage (usually 18 months) to be offered to covered employees, their spouses, former spouses, and dependent children (qualified beneficiaries) when group health coverage would otherwise be lost due to certain specific qualifying events. The two qualifying events that affect employees are (1) termination of employment for reasons other than gross misconduct, and (2) reduction in work hours.

To be entitled to elect COBRA continuation coverage, you must have been enrolled in a group health plan that your employer offered, and the plan must be covered by COBRA. A plan is generally covered if it is maintained by a private employer with 20 or more employees, or by state or local governments. As stated earlier, there must also be a qualifying event that causes you to lose your health coverage (e.g., job loss or reduction in work hours).

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