Is My Organization Required to Offer COBRA to Employees?

To be subject to COBRA, your organization must have employed 20 or more workers on at least half of your regular business days in the last calendar year, and you must currently provide a group health plan. Group health plans include the following benefits:
  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Medical reimbursement flexible spending accounts
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides more than referrals
  • Prescription drug plan
If your organization is subject to COBRA, you should be able to answer "yes" to all of these questions:

  1. Do you provide Initial COBRA Notifications to covered employees and their dependents once they become covered by your group health plan(s)?
  2. Are employees and their dependents given an opportunity to continue their coverage when a qualifying event occurs?
  3. Can you prove that you provide Initial COBRA Notifications and COBRA election information, and that this information is provided within the time period mandated by COBRA?
  4. Do you know what the qualifying events are under COBRA?
  5. Are you complying with HIPAA privacy and portability rules?
  6. Are you complying with the COBRA timelines? Do you know how long you have to send a COBRA notice after a qualifying event occurs? How long the election period is? What the two grace periods for payment of premium are and the duration of each?
  7. Do you adjudicate eligibility and participation consistently?
  8. Are you monitoring the effect of COBRA participants on your experience rating?
  9. Are you maintaining COBRA records? Do you know how long you are required to store these records before they may safely be destroyed?
  10. Do you know the penalties and liabilities associated with COBRA violations? Did you know that COBRA violations are not covered by General Liability insurance?
    COBRA Administration