COBRA is a program that allows certain employees to continue group health coverage that may otherwise be terminated.

Utilizing the benefits of COBRA can make your benefits package much stronger, ultimately benefiting both you and your employees. As part of your Benefits Blueprint, Bond will help you understand all of the parameters and qualifying elements for successful implementation of COBRA. Our free COBRA Administration Services not only keep you in compliance with federal and state regulations but also alleviate HR's compliance burden and increases business productivity by saving processing and customer service time.

COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which is an amendment to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Internal Revenue Code and the Public Health Service Act. It requires that group health plans sponsored by employers, with 20 or more employees in the prior year, offer certain former employees, retirees, spouses, former spouses and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of group health coverage that may otherwise be terminated. Qualified individuals may be required to pay up to 102 percent of the full monthly premium.

This coverage, however, is only available when coverage is lost due to certain specific events such as involuntary and voluntary termination of employment, reduction in hours, divorce / legal separation, loss of dependent child status, etc.
New York State "mini COBRA" law requires small employers, less than 20 employees, to provide the equivalent of COBRA benefits.

COBRA sets forth strict employee notification guidelines. Violating the COBRA policies can be quite expensive for companies that are not in compliance. For each day of noncompliance, an employer could be penalized by the IRS $100 per day for each qualified beneficiary affected by the failure to comply with COBRA requirements. The Department of Labor may also impose a penalty of $110 per day for each employee that is not notified of COBRA. It is also possible for a company to pay fines of $2,500 for each beneficiary that has been affected by the noncompliance up to whichever is less--10 percent of the health plan or $500,000, according to cobracs.com.

With Bond, you'll understand all aspects of COBRA, including:

• Qualifying events
• Initial notification of COBRA rights
• Election process
• Costs and payment arrangements
• Ongoing open enrollment communication

You will also be provided with a dedicated consultant to provide customer service and to explain alternative option suggestions.

Please contact your account manager or COBRA@bfninc.net for more information.