United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Cobra Liability in Mergers and Acquisitions

Posted by: Karen Hsu    Aug 9, 2018 3:58:41 PM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires certain group health plans to make continuation coverage available to certain individuals who would otherwise lose group health plan coverage due to a qualifying event. Employers who go through business reorganizations, such as mergers and acquisitions (M&A), will need to know whether COBRA continuation coverage must be offered and whether the group health plan of the seller or buyer must provide COBRA continuation coverage.

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Topics: COBRA, Group health plans, group health insurance

Latest IRS ACA Round Up (Including 2018 Cost-of-Living Adjustments)

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Nov 16, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the instructions for Forms 1094/1095 for the 2017 tax year, announced PCORI fees for 2017-18, and announced cost-of-living adjustments for 2018. The IRS provided additional guidance on leave-based donation programs' tax treatment and released an information letter on COBRA and Medicare. Here’s a recap of these actions for your reference.

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Topics: tax law, PCORI, leave-based donation program, Affordable Care Act, ACA, COBRA

The COBRA Payment Process

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Aug 23, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) allows qualified beneficiaries who lose health benefits due to a qualifying event to continue group health benefits. The COBRA payment process is subject to various rules in terms of grace periods, notification, premium payment methods, and treatment of insignificant shortfalls.

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Topics: COBRA, Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, qualified beneficiary, health insurance premiums, group health insurance

Determining COBRA Premiums for Fully Insured and Self-Funded Health Plans

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Aug 1, 2017 1:04:34 PM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) allows qualified beneficiaries who lose health benefits due to a qualifying event to continue group health benefits. While some group health plans may provide COBRA continuation coverage at a reduced rate or at no cost, most qualified beneficiaries must pay the full COBRA premium. The COBRA election notice should include information about COBRA premiums.

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Topics: COBRA continuation coverage, COBRA, fully insured health plans, health insurance premiums

Extension of Maximum COBRA Coverage Period

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jul 13, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (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. The length of the COBRA coverage period depends on the qualifying event and is usually 18 or 36 months. However, the COBRA coverage period may be extended under the following five circumstances:

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Topics: COBRA, COBRA continuation coverage, qualifying event, coverage period

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, benefits compliance, Department of Labor audit, COBRA, ACA, Affordable Care Act, USERRA, life insurance, compliance assessment, Bob Bentley, Albers & Company, 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: COBRA, COBRA continuation coverage, group benefit plans, compliance, Danielle Capilla

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, qualifying event, COBRA continuation coverage, 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