University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources
http://www.umn.edu/ohr
612-625-2016

COBRA Continuation of Coverage

The federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) and state laws provide employees and their dependents the opportunity to temporarily continue medical, dental, and life insurance coverage under the UPlan when certain specific events, called qualifying events, would normally result in the loss of coverage. Under COBRA, the former employee or dependent pays the full cost of coverage at the University's group rates plus an administrative fee.

Qualifying Events for COBRA Coverage

You can continue benefits coverage under COBRA if you lose coverage due to one of the following qualifying events:

  • Termination of employment (for reasons other than gross misconduct)
  • Layoff
  • Change in employment status causing employee's loss of eligibility to participate in the group benefits plan (e.g., reduction in hours to below 50% time or change to ineligible job class)
  • Loss of eligibility as a dependent child (due to age)
  • Death of covered employee
  • Divorce from employee
  • Termination of registered same-sex domestic partnership

Due to one of the qualifying events above, your coverage will end on the last day of the month in which you actively worked or were still employed in a position eligible for benefits.


To Continue Coverage

If you lose coverage, your department will notify you of the option to continue coverage within 10 days after employment ends and provide you with a Request for Continuation of Coverage form. If coverage for your dependent ends because of divorce, termination of same-sex domestic partnership, or any other change in dependent status, you or your covered dependents must notify the Plan within 30 days. To qualify, you must have been covered as an eligible employee or dependent on the day before the qualifying event.

In most cases, you have 60 days from the date of the qualifying event to elect continuation coverage. Continuation coverage is effective following the date of loss of your group coverage. However, you may experience a gap in coverage due to cancellation of benefits if you wait up to 60 days before applying for COBRA continuation. Electing early will avoid disruption in your coverage.

Note: If you have a spouse/same-sex domestic partner who is employed by the University of Minnesota and is eligible for benefits, it may be possible to be added as a dependent to his/her group benefits. Contact Employee Benefits for more information.

Continuation coverage must be with the same plan you had on the date of coverage termination. You do not need to prove you are insurable to obtain continuation coverage. You may change coverage options during any open enrollment period that the plan may have while you are covered by continuation coverage.


Duration of Coverage

You and your dependents may continue the group medical and/or dental benefits until the earliest of the following:

  • 18 months following loss of coverage (qualifying event: termination, layoff, or reduction in hours of employee).
  • You become covered under another group health plan that does not contain any exclusions or limitations for pre-existing conditions that apply to you or your dependents.
  • You or your dependent becomes entitled to Medicare benefits after electing continuation coverage (only for the individual(s) who become entitled to Medicare (under Part A, Part B, or both).
  • You fail to pay the rate for your coverage within the grace period after the due date.
  • The University discontinues coverage for all of its employees.
  • 36 months following loss of coverage (qualifying event: loss of dependent child eligibility, divorce from employee; termination of same-sex domestic partnership; or the employee's entitlement to Medicare [under Part A, Part B, or both]).
  • Coverage would have terminated had the employee lived (qualifying event: death of employee).

Questions

If you have questions on termination or continuation of coverage, call 612-624-UOHR (612-624-8647) or 800-756-2363 to reach the Employee Benefits Service Center.