COBRA

“COBRA” stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985.  This law gives you and your covered dependents the right to continue your medical insurance coverage, dental insurance coverage, vision insurance coverage, and/or Health Care Flexible Spending Account participation if you lose your benefits under certain circumstances.

Medical, Dental and Vision

The chart below describes the circumstances in which you and/or your dependents can choose “Continuation of Coverage” as mandated by COBRA, and how long continued coverage for medical, dental and/or vision insurance can last.  Continuation of Coverage lasts up to 18, 29 or 36 months, depending on the circumstances in which you lost coverage. If multiple circumstances apply, the maximum period that coverage can continue is a total of 36 months. You may lose coverage because of a qualifying event, which may include divorce, legal separation, death of a covered employee, reduction in work hours or termination.

Maximum Continuation Period: 

Reason Coverage Is Lost

Employee

Spouse

Child

Employee loses coverage
because of reduced work hours

18 months

18 months

18 months

Employee terminates employment with
the University for any reason (except gross misconduct)

18 months

18 months

18 months

Employee and spouse legally separate or divorce

N/A

36 months

N/A

Employee or dependent is disabled
(as defined by Title II or XVI of the Social Security Act)
at the time of or within 60 days of the qualifying event

29 months

29 months

29 months

Disabled employee becomes entitled to
Medicare causing dependents to lose coverage

N/A

36 months

36 months

Child no longer qualifies as a dependent

N/A

N/A

36 months

Employee dies: Dental

N/A

36 months

36 months

Employee dies: Medical

N/A

 

36 months

36 months

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

You can continue your participation in your Health Care Flexible Spending Account through Continuation of Coverage if:

  • You are participating in a Health Care FSA, you have money remaining in your account, and your employment is terminated, or 
     
  • You are participating in a Health Care FSA, you have money remaining in your account, and you change from a benefits-eligible status to a benefits-ineligible status.

Your regular Health Care FSA participation will end on the day your employment or benefits-eligible status terminates. If you elect to continue your participation through Continuation of Coverage, your Health Care FSA resumes as of your termination date or benefits-ineligible date. You will be billed on a monthly basis.

Your Continuation of Coverage for the Health Care FSA ends at the end of the calendar year or when you stop paying the monthly payments, whichever occurs first.

Special Note:

Dependent care spending account participation cannot be continued through COBRA.

COBRA Cost

Under Continuation of Coverage, you can maintain your medical, dental and/or vision insurance coverage at the rate the University pays for benefits plus a 2% administrative fee. 

When you elect to continue your Health Care FSA participation, your contributions for the remainder of the calendar year are made on an after-tax basis.

Rates:

COBRA Rates Staff & Non-Bargaining Unit Faculty (PDF)

COBRA Rates Bargaining Unit Faculty (PDF)

Applying for COBRA Continuation of Coverage

If your qualifying event is a reduction in hours or a termination of employment, you will be mailed information by UMR, the plan administrator, with instructions on how to elect Continuation of Coverage.

For any other qualifying event, you or a family member need to notify Human Resources within 30 days of either the event or the date you lose coverage because of the event (whichever is later). You will be mailed information by UMR, the plan administrator, with instructions on how to elect Continuation of Coverage.

You and your eligible dependents have 60 days from the date you receive your instructions to notify UMR that you want continued coverage.

If you elect Continuation of Coverage through COBRA, the coverage begins the month after the date of your qualifying event, and you will be billed retroactively from that date. Contact UMR at 800.207.1824 regarding questions about COBRA coverage after you have applied.

Making Changes to COBRA Continuation of Coverage

You may change your Continuation of Coverage:

  • During Open Enrollment (except for the Health Care Flexible Spending Account); or 
     
  • Within 30 days of a qualifying life event such as marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child, etc.

UMR will require documentation for certain changes. Return a copy of the required documents to UMR within 30 days of the qualifying life event. 

Ending COBRA Continuation of Coverage Early

Examples of when Continuation of Coverage will end before the maximum continuation period, include:

  • You or your dependent fail to make timely monthly payments.
     
  • The university terminates the plan under which you elected Continuation of Coverage as mandated by COBRA.

For more information, contact UMR at 800.207.1824 or www.umr.com.