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COBRA

COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. 

COBRA is federal legislation which allows an individual to continue medical, dental and /or healthcare flexible account participation based on IRS-approved Qualifying Events*.

Benefits puzzle piece red circle

Examples of Qualifying Events include:

  • Termination of employment
  • Reduction in number of hours of employment which affects benefits eligibility
  • Divorce or legal separation*
  • Employee’s death (for eligible dependents)*
  • Child ceases to be eligible for coverage under the plans*

 *It is the employee's responsibility to notify the Human Resources department within 31 days if he/she has a qualifying event.

Domestic partners are not eligible to continue benefits under COBRA.

The university’s COBRA administrator is Chard-Snyder.  Anthem is UC’s medical and dental carrier.  Medical and dental coverage will continue through Anthem, not Chard Snyder for individuals who elect COBRA. Employees are also eligible for continued coverage under the university’s Employee Assistance Plan, Impact Solutions.

COBRA Details

Following separation of employment or other qualifying event resulting in loss of coverage, qualifying persons will receive a COBRA information packet from Chard-Snyder, UC’s COBRA Administrator. 

The COBRA packet will explain how COBRA works.UC medical and dental coverages end on the last day of the month in which the separation of employment is effective.  Eligible individuals will receive the  COBRA packet approximately 2-3 weeks following the date coverage ends. The packet will be sent to the  employee’s home address of record in the UC system.   An employee can check or update his/her address through Employee Self Service account (ESS).

To elect coverage continuation under COBRA, a qualifying person must complete the election form in the packet and return it to Chard-Snyder.  Each qualified person has a separate right to elect continuation of coverage.

Qualifying persons have 60 days to elect COBRA continuation.  This 60-day period begins on the later of these two dates:

  • the date benefits end for the employee or dependent, or
  • the date the employee or dependent is notified of his/her right to elect extended coverage.

*The university Human Resources Department must be notified within 31 days if there is a qualifying event.  If election for COBRA is not made within the 60-day  COBRA election period, eligibility for extended coverage under COBRA ends.  COBRA coverage begins, retroactive to the first day of eligibility when the first payment is received, if received within the required timeframe.

COST:

Qualifying persons pay the entire cost of medical or dental coverage, plus a 2% administration fee.  Here is the COBRA 2019 rate chart and 2020 rate chart.

After the initial COBRA election and payment, payment is due the first of each month with a grace period of 30 days.  COBRA coverage will not be activated and Anthem will not be notified until the first premium payment is received by Chard-Snyder.

PAYMENT:

An individual who has elected COBRA may arrange an online billing account through Chard-Snyder

Or, payment can be made using billing coupons.  Contact Chard-Snyder to obtain the billing coupons. 

Disabled individuals may be able to continue coverage for as long as 29 months (18 months following separation of employment plus an additional 11 months).  In this case, the cost will be higher for the additional 11-months of coverage.  The cost during the 11 month period is 150% of the plan's cost at the time of the qualifying event for each person who extends coverage.

How long COBRA can be continued generally depends on the reason that COBRA was originally elected (e.g., what Qualifying Event was.) Examples are listed in the chart below:

In the event that:

Coverage may continue for:

For as
long as:

An employee's employment is terminated for any reason (except gross misconduct)

The employee and his/her eligible* dependents

18 months**

An employee's hours are reduced and the employee loses benefits

The employee and his/her eligible* dependents

18 months**

An employee dies

The employee's eligible dependents

36 months

An employee gets a divorce or legal separation from his/her spouse

The spouse and the employee's eligible** dependents

36 months

An employee's child is no longer eligible for benefits

That eligible dependent

36 months

An employee becomes enrolled in Medicare benefits

The employee's eligible* dependents

36 months

Under certain circumstances, coverage under COBRA may be terminated during the extension period.  COBRA coverage can be terminated if:

  • the required premium payments are not paid in full on time,
  • the qualifying person becomes covered as an employee under another group health plan*,
  • a qualifying dependent becomes covered under another group plan*,
  • the qualifying person or the employee's dependents become enrolled in Medicare benefits (COBRA coverage ends only for the person who is enrolled in Medicare)

 * Dependents are eligible for COBRA coverage if they were covered under the plan(s) the day before the qualifying event occurred.  For COBRA purposes, newborn and adopted children are qualified beneficiaries with immediate enrollment rights.

** If an employee or his/her dependents are disabled (as determined under the Social Security Act) within 60 days of a qualifying event, the employee and his/her dependents can extend coverage for an additional 11 months (total 29 months).  However, the disabled person must notify the Human Resources Department and the appropriate insurance companies of the disability within the initial 18-month extension period and within 60 days after he/she receives notification that the disability is recognized by the Social Security Administration.  Additionally, if an employee dies, becomes divorced or legally separated from his/her spouse, or eligible for Medicare during the initial 18-month period, his/her dependents can extend coverage for an additional 18 months based on the second qualifying event, provided the Human Resources Department is notified within 60 days of the second qualifying event.

It is the employee's responsibility to notify the university Human Resources department within 60 days if he/she has a qualifying event. 

Chard-Snyder is the university’s COBRA administrator 
For more information please contact Chard-Snyder:

  • Phone: (888)993-4646
  • Fax: (513)459-9947

Business Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

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