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Should I Wait to Repsond to My COBRA Notice?

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Should I Wait to Repsond to My COBRA Notice?

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) gives individuals the right to continue their group healthcare coverage that would otherwise be lost due to a specific qualifying event. Qualifying events include termination of employment or reduction in work hours, divorce, death of the employee, the employee becoming qualified for Medicare, or a dependent ceasing to be considered a dependent under the terms of the health plan.

Any of the qualified beneficiaries may elect to take continuation coverage. The spouse of an eligible employee, for example, may elect coverage, while the employee does not. Either the covered employee or the spouse may decide for dependent children.

When To Respond

If you become eligible to receive COBRA continuation coverage, you will receive a notice within 14 days of the plan becoming aware of your qualifying event. You then have 60 days to respond to the plan, starting on the latter of the date you lose coverage or the date you are given your notice. If you decide to waive coverage you may either notify the plan within the 60 day election period, or you may simply not respond to the notice. Be aware of the pitfalls of not responding, however.

If you notify the plan that you waive coverage, but change your mind later, you may revoke your waiver at any time during the election period. You have those 60 days to either waive or accept coverage. If you revoke your waiver, continuation coverage will start on the date you notify the plan.

Hazards of Not Responding to Your COBRA Notice

If you have not responded to the election notice within 60 days, then you have waived your right to COBRA coverage and you will not be eligible to revoke that waiver later.

The 60 day election period allows you to get COBRA at a later date. If you do not know immediately if you need continuation coverage, but consider it a possibility, then you should respond to the COBRA notice. The consequences of not responding at all are losing the ability to purchase the continuation coverage later during the election period.

RedQuote Can Help

RedQuote administers COBRA for the employers we work with, and we help beneficiaries compare COBRA plan options with individual plan options so they can choose the best plan to meet their needs. If you or your company might be interested in hiring us to offer these options to beneficiaries leaving your group medical plan, contact us today!

Published Sep 28, 2016.

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