What is COBRA?
In April 1986, Congress passed the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). One of the provisions of this act requires most employers that maintain a group health plan to allow terminated employees and their eligible dependents who would otherwise lose their coverage to continue group health coverage for a period of up to 18 months if employment terminates for any reason except gross misconduct. Eligible dependents may also continue their group health coverage for up to 36 months under certain circumstances. How will this affect me?
It won't unless you leave your job or become ineligible for group health coverage due to reduced work hours. If you leave employment for any reason other than gross misconduct, you and your eligible dependents may continue the medical, dental, vision, and/or flexible spending account (FSA) benefits allowed under your group health plans at the University of Hartford. Is enrollment in continuation coverage automatic?
No. You must enroll in this continuation option. Who pays for this coverage?
The person who elects the coverage pays the full premium plus a 2 percent administrative fee for the coverage. Participants are billed two months in advance of the month in which coverage is effective. Failure to remit the full monthly premium by the monthly due date will result in immediate cancellation of coverage, with no reinstatement allowed. What coverage is provided?
The group health plans you were covered under (medical, dental, vision, and/or FSA) at the time of separation from employment will remain in effect for the duration required by federal law, provided you continue making your monthly premium payments in a timely manner. How does continuation of coverage work?
You will have 60 days from the end of the month in which you separated from service or notification of your COBRA rights, whichever is later, to elect continuation of coverage under COBRA. You can continue coverage for yourself and/or your covered dependents for up to 18 months or until the earliest of the following:
What do I have to do to enroll in continuation of coverage?
- The employer no longer offers any group health plan,
- You fail to pay the premium,
- You become entitled to Medicare,
- You enroll in or are currently enrolled in another group health plan (unless you have a pre-existing condition that is limited or excluded from coverage under the new plan).
If you become eligible for continuation of group health coverage under COBRA, you must act promptly to be sure you do not lose eligibility. You must complete a new enrollment form and submit this form and the first month's premium payment to the office of Human Resources Development (HRD) to activate your continuation of coverage within the time allowed under federal law. How is my coverage affected if I become totally disabled?
If you are determined to be totally disabled under Title II or Title XVI of the Social Security Act and you properly notify HRD, coverage may be extended up to 11 months beyond the initial 18 month period. Contact HRD for more information.
Note: If total disability status changes, coverage will not terminate immediately. Coverage will continue until the first of the month following the 30 day anniversary of the date that you are medically determined no longer disabled. What happens to my eligible dependents' coverage if I die, terminate employment, become legally separated or divorced, or become entitled to Medicare? Or if my dependent children lose dependent status under my current plan?
Each enrolled dependent retains individual enrollment election rights for continuation of coverage under COBRA, and would be required to follow the same steps listed above to enroll.
If you divorce or legally separate from your spouse, you must notify HRD within 30 days of the event to ensure proper processing of this qualifying event.
Continuation of coverage under COBRA is also available if your child loses dependent status under the group health plan. You must notify HRD within 30 days of this event to ensure proper processing of this qualifying event.
Dependents will have 60 days from the date of the qualifying event to choose to continue coverage. Contact HRD immediately to initiate the appropriate paperwork.
In these cases, continuation of coverage may be provided for up to 36 months, or until the earliest of the following:
- The employer no longer offers any group health plan,
- Your dependents fail to pay the premium,
- Your dependents become entitled to Medicare, or
- Your dependents become covered under another group health plan (unless there is a pre-existing condition that is limited or excluded from coverage under the new plan).
Will I, or any of my eligible dependents, have to take a medical exam to obtain continuation of coverage under COBRA?
What if I, or my eligible dependents, still want coverage after the conclusion of the continuation limit provided by federal COBRA law?
Your group health plan does not contain an individual conversion option. However, for details regarding individual plan options, please contact Chris Monroe, the University's broker, at 203.634.5798 or Chris.Monroe@usi.com.
Where can I get more information?
Questions regarding this policy should be directed to your designated HR representative.
This page is designed to summarize COBRA and is not intended to be all inclusive. Where there are differences between the provisions of this website and more specific statements contained in University files (such as plan documents), those statements shall control.