Requirement to offer COBRA
Need to know if your company is required to offer COBRA? Check out our “Basic COBRA: 101” article. Then come on back for the next course!
First things first
If your company is subject to COBRA, your first requirement is to notify employees of their COBRA rights. You only need to provide the notice to employees and dependents enrolled for active health coverage (medical, dental, vision, employee assistance programs, flexible spending accounts, and health reimbursement arrangements).
You must mail the General Notice (also referred to as an Initial Notice) to the employee’s home, and address it to the employee “and dependents” (you don’t have to include the actual names of dependents covered).
You have 90 days from finding out you must abide by COBRA laws to get this letter out. You must then provide the same notice, within 90 days of enrollment, to any employee and dependents enrolling on your plan in the future.
Qualifying Event Notice
The Qualifying Event Notice outlines members’ rights under COBRA once they have a Qualifying Event. This mailing would include another copy of the General Notice, the plan rates, the length of time COBRA can continue, and an election form. If your company is sending out these notices, you’ll have 30 days from the date coverage ends to send them out. If you are using a COBRA vendor, you have 30 days to notify the vendor, and they then have 15 days to send out the notice to the member.