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COBRA

CONTINUATION COVERAGE RIGHTS UNDER COBRA

Once you become covered under a group health plan (the Plan) you have COBRA rights.  COBRA continuation coverage is a temporary extension of coverage under the Plan.  The right to COBRA continuation coverage is a federal law that may become available to you or other members of your family who are covered under the Plan when you or your covered dependents would otherwise lose group health coverage.

COBRA ELIGIBILITY

If you are an employee, you will be become a COBRA-qualified beneficiary if you lose your coverage for any of the following reasons:
  • Your hours of employment are reduced
  • Your employment ends for any reason other than gross misconduct
If you are the spouse or domestic partner of an employee, you will become a COBRA-qualified beneficiary if you lose your coverage for any of the following reasons:
  • Your spouse/domestic partner dies
  • Your spouse/domestic partner’s hours are reduced
    Your spouse/domestic partner’s employment ends for any reason other than gross misconduct
  • Your spouse/domestic partner becomes entitled to Medicare benefits
  • You become divorced or legally separated, or terminate your domestic partnership
Your dependent children will become COBRA-qualified beneficiaries if they lose coverage for any of the following reasons:
  • The parent-employee dies
  • The parent-employee’s hours are reduced
  • The parent-employee’s employment ends for any reason other than gross misconduct
  • The parent-employee becomes entitled to Medicare benefits
  • The child no longer qualifies as a “Dependent child”

IMPORTANT FACTS TO CONSIDER ABOUT COBRA

The cost of COBRA continuation coverage is the total cost of the premium (what was previously the employee’s cost, plus the board contribution) plus an administration charge of 2%. COBRA continuation coverage is temporary.  The following limitations apply:
  • If COBRA is offered as a result of employee death, divorce/separation, or a dependent child losing eligibility, continuation coverage can last for a maximum of 36 months.
  • If COBRA is offered as a result of employment terminating, or a reduction in employee hours, continuation coverage can last for a maximum of 18 months.

EXTENSIONS OF COBRA

If you or anyone in your family covered under the Plan is determined by the Social Security Administration to be disabled, and you notify the Office of Benefits, Leaves, and Retirement within 30 days, you and your family may be entitled to receive up to an additional 11 months of COBRA continuation coverage, for a maximum total of 29 months.  The disability would have had to have started before the 60th day of COBRA continuation coverage and must last at least until the end of the 18-month period of continuation coverage.

You must provide written notice to: The Office of Benefits, Leaves, and Retirement, 6901 Charles Street, Building B, Towson, MD 21204. If your family experiences a second COBRA qualifying event while receiving 18 months of COBRA continuation coverage, the spouse and dependent children in your family can get up to 18 additional months of COBRA continuation coverage, for a maximum of 36 months, if notice of the second event is given to the Plan. 

This extension may be available if:

  • The employee or former employee dies
  • The employee or former employee gets divorced/ legally separated
  • The child no longer qualifies as a “Dependent child”