The right to COBRA continuation coverage was created by a federal law, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA). COBRA continuation coverage can become available to you when you would otherwise lose your group health coverage. It can also become available to other members of your family who are covered under the Plan when they would otherwise lose their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage.
Iowa Has A Mini-COBRA Law
COBRA continuation coverage is a continuation of Plan coverage when coverage would otherwise end because of a life event known as a “qualifying event.” The requirement for federal COBRA is that a worker’s employer must have 20 or more employees. Iowa’s law goes further and compels businesses with 19 or fewer employees to offer an election of continuation of group health insurance. The Iowa legislation requires that the employee must have been covered by their work insurance for 3 continuous months to be eligible for continuation.
When is COBRA Coverage Available?
The plan will offer COBRA continuation coverage to qualified beneficiaries only after the Plan Administrator has been notified that a qualifying event has occurred. When the qualifying event is the end of employment or reduction of hours of employment, death of the employee, or the employee’s becoming entitled to and elects Medicare benefits to be primary while still working (under Part A, Part B, or both), the employer must notify the Plan Administrator of the qualifying event.
How is COBRA Coverage Provided?
Once the Plan Administrator receives notice that a qualifying event has occurred, COBRA continuation coverage will be offered. Each qualified beneficiary will have an independent right to elect COBRA continuation coverage. Covered employees may elect COBRA continuation coverage on behalf of their spouses, and parents may elect COBRA continuation coverage on behalf of their children.
Keep Your Plan Informed of Address Changes
In order to protect your family’s rights, you should keep your former employer informed of any changes in the addresses of family members. You should also keep a copy, for your records, of any notices you send to your personnel assistant.