Letters to the Editor:
March 19 2015: Your health insurance rights under COBRA. Jeanne Rayphand
It has come to our attention that government employees enrolled in the group health plan are not being given notice of their rights under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA.
COBRA “gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances. …” www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/cobra.htm.
At the commencement of coverage under the plan, the administrator of the group health plan is required to provide written notice to each covered employee and spouse of the employee (if any) of the rights to continuation of coverage provided under the group health plan. A model form of notice is provided in the Appendix to 29 CFR 2590.606-1.
Likewise, when there is a “qualifying event” that would result in a loss of coverage under the group health plan, the administrator is required to give notice of the employee’s right to elect COBRA continuation coverage. A model form of this notice is provided in the Appendix to 29 CFR 2590.606-4.
If you are a member of a group health plan and do not know your rights to COBRA continuation coverage (29 U.S.C. § 1161 et seq., 29 CFR 2590 et seq.), contact your Human Resources Department. For more information about COBRA continuation coverage, check www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/cobra.htm. If you have a disability and need assistance, contact Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems, Inc. (NMPASI) at (670) 235-7273 or 7274, (670) 235-7275 (fax), or online at www.nmpasi.org.