United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Top Five Compliance Assessment Surprises

Posted by: Bob Bentley    Feb 23, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Our Firm is making a big push to provide compliance assessments for our clients and using them as a marketing tool with prospects. Since the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) began its Health Benefits Security Project in October 2012, there has been increased scrutiny. While none of our clients have been audited yet, we expect it is only a matter of time and we want to make sure they are prepared.

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Topics: compliance, ACA, COBRA, Affordable Care Act, Albers & Company, benefits compliance, Department of Labor audit, USERRA, life insurance, compliance assessment, Bob Bentley, benefits notices

State Guide to COBRA Supplemental Requirements

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Nov 22, 2016 10:30:00 AM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal requirement of group health plans to provide COBRA continuation coverage to participants who lose coverage due to a qualifying event, when the employer had 20 or more full time employees. Over the years, many states enacted additional requirements similar to COBRA, either for small employers, or in addition to the federal COBRA requirements. UBA has created a chart to outline each state’s specific continuation laws. For a sampling of the types of laws employers need to be aware of, consider these seven states (and view our full Compliance Advisor with the detail on all 50 states)

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Topics: compliance, COBRA, Danielle Capilla, COBRA continuation coverage, group benefit plans

Going Where Others Fear to Tread: When COBRA and the FMLA Cross Paths

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    Nov 8, 2016 10:30:00 AM

In some of my previous blogs, the foundation of the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) continuation coverage was reviewed. Now that the groundwork has been laid, it is time to tread into the territories (or laws) where employers can lose their footing. The area covered in the following is that of the intersection of COBRA and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).

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Topics: FMLA, COBRA, COBRA continuation coverage, qualifying event, employee leave, Jennifer Stanley

As Dragnet's Joe Friday Would Say, "Just the Facts, Ma'am." Get the Facts on COBRA Coverage – Who, When and How Long?

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    May 3, 2016 10:00:00 AM

As we mentioned in the first edition of this mini-series on the Federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), “marketplaces” or “exchanges” created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) did not make COBRA obsolete. Rather, COBRA is still going strong. And while the general rule of COBRA is not necessarily that difficult to understand, the timeframes, notice requirements, intricacies, and the ways in which COBRA interacts with other laws presents employers with potentially extremely expensive outcomes.

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Topics: COBRA, Jennifer Kupper, iaCONSULTING, covered employee, benefit eligibility, qualifying event

What Is COBRA, and Does It Apply to My Business?

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    Mar 29, 2016 12:00:00 PM

In the earlier days of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a common question among employers and benefit advisors was whether there would still be a need for COBRA, the Federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. Many people speculated that COBRA would be a thing of the past. This was a logical step for those in the insurance industry. When an employee was faced with the option of paying full cost for continued employer coverage or possibly qualifying for heavily subsidized care on the Marketplace, it seemed to be a “no brainer.” Six years after the passage of the ACA, which was signed into law on March 23, 2010, and three years after the initial launch of the Marketplace in October 2013, COBRA is still a law with which to be reckoned. In a series of articles, I will address COBRA in general and also delve into other related issues, such as mini-COBRA, COBRA and account-based plans, and the interaction of COBRA and Medicare.

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Topics: ACA, PPACA, COBRA, group health insurance, COBRA continuation coverage

COBRA and the Affordable Care Act

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jan 5, 2016 12:00:00 PM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires employers to offer covered employees who lose their health benefits due to a qualifying event to continue group health benefits for a limited time at the employee's own cost. COBRA provisions are found in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Internal Revenue Code (Code), and the Public Health Service Act (PHSA). Employers with 20 or more employees and group health plans are subject to COBRA provisions. Most governmental plans, church plans, and certain plans of Indian tribal governments are exempt from COBRA. Employers should always consult with counsel about state continuation laws that are similar to COBRA and apply to small employers.

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Topics: ACA, PPACA, COBRA, ERISA, change in status event, Affordable Care Act, COBRA continuation coverage

Negotiating over COBRA Coverage – Use EXTREME CAUTION!

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    Dec 15, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Proceed with cautionHave you ever overheard the new employee in the break room, bragging about how good their health insurance was with their previous employer, and how much less expensive it was than the coverage they are currently being offered?

You may think ”If it was so good, then why give it up?” There are always a number of factors that can lead to someone making a job change, but what happens when COBRA becomes a part of the negotiating process when they are working out the terms of employment with the new company?

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Topics: employee benefits, COBRA, ERISA, Elizabeth Kay, COBRA continuation coverage, health care benefits

Growing Pains: Why Adolescence Is About To Get That Much Harder

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    Mar 19, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Employers that are growing up, and are in the awkward teenage years, are about to get a big surprise, and not the good kind.

When a company first opens, they are excited when they first implement their benefit plans for their handful of employees. They offer one or two medical plans, perhaps some dental and vision, and a small life insurance policy. The company knows that the small group rates will be high, but not much can be done, so they live with it. The rates are based on the employee’s age and where the company is located. They rely on their broker to show them the different options and help them offer plans with the best value to their employees.

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Topics: ACA, employee benefits, COBRA, community rating, composite rating

COBRA POST-PPACA

Posted by: Linda Rowings    Oct 11, 2013 10:38:00 AM

By Linda Rowings
Chief Compliance Officer
United Benefit Advisors

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Topics: health care costs, health insurance, UBA, employee benefits, health care reform, health care, PPACA, COBRA