COBRA Member

Please read the important information below as it impacts COBRA deadlines.

This page was last updated on May 20, 2020.
If you have already read the May 20th information on this page, please click here to proceed directly to the portal login page.

If new details are released, we will update the page, including the “last updated” date.

Important changes were made by the federal government that impact COBRA in several ways.  We want to make sure you are aware of these changes and how they may impact you.

In general, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, deadlines have been extended for COBRA elections, initial payments and on-going monthly payments. Please keep reading to learn how this may impact you

Key terms and time periods to know:

COBRA Event Graphic about new deadlines

We are continuously monitoring changes in COBRA regulations and we will update this page as quickly as possible when we have new information.

Our customer service team is ready to assist you should you have questions on any of the information on this page.

  • I am currently enrolled in COBRA

      Although extensions are permitted, all COBRA communications you receive from Benefit Strategies will continue to reflect the standard COBRA timeframes. We strongly encourage you to continue following these timeframes to prevent potential disruption of coverage. Your coverage will remain available to you at any point in this period, assuming you are paid to date.

      MONTHLY PAYMENTS:

      You now have additional time to make your monthly payments. Under standard COBRA rules you have a 30-day grace period after the due date to still make your payment. If the payment is not received by the end of the grace period, coverage is terminated and cannot be reinstated. During the Outbreak Period, if a payment is not made by the end of the grace period, your coverage will be interrupted. However, you can make your past due premium payments at any point up until 30 days after the Outbreak Period ends and your coverage will be restored.

      For example:

      Under standard COBRA Rules, if your premium is due 6/1/2020, you have until 6/30/2020 to make your payment. After 6/30/2020, your coverage is terminated with the carrier back to 6/1/2020. Late payments cannot be accepted, and your coverage cannot be restored.

      During the Outbreak Period if your payment is received on 07/05/2020, we can accept your late payment and restore your coverage. If you are unable to pay your full monthly premium in one payment, we strongly encourage that you make smaller payments instead, when you are able to do so, such as on a weekly basis. This will prevent large outstanding balances from building up. For example, you have paid in full through March 2020, and now owe for April 2020. If the National Emergency is declared over on 6/29/2020, then the Outbreak Period will be determined to end 60 days after that on 8/28/2020. You then have until 30 days after the end of the Outbreak Period (9/27/2020) to pay your account in full and have coverage restored. If you waited to pay until the 30th day after the end of the Outbreak Period, you would then owe for April, May, June, July, and August. Failure to pay all past months within in the 30-day period after the Outbreak Period ends will result in permanent termination of your COBRA coverage as of the end of the last month fully paid for.

      QUALIFYING EVENTS

      Notify Benefit Strategies as soon as possible of any qualifying events. If premiums need to be adjusted due to the qualifying event, specifically if they increase, you risk accumulating a very large balance. This is because you will owe the increased premium amount back to the date the qualifying event change became effective.

      COBRA END DATE

      The guidance released does not allow you to extend your COBRA period past your previously allowed number of months. For example, if you were previously allowed 18 months, it will remain 18 months.

      COBRA rules only allow an extension of your original COBRA coverage period if you have an applicable qualifying event or disability approval.

  • I had my disability extension denied

      You can still submit your appeal of the denial. Please keep in mind that if your coverage was already terminated and an appeal is approved, all past due premiums will need to be brought current in order for coverage to be reinstated with the carrier.

  • I elected COBRA but have not yet made my initial payment

      Although you could now wait to make your initial payment, coverage is not reinstated with your carrier until you’ve made your full initial payment. For example, if your first day of COBRA is 4/1/2020 and you do not elect until 6/28/2020, you will need to pay the total monthly premium for April, May, and June to satisfy your initial payment and be reinstated with your insurance carriers.

      Paying several months of past premium all at once may be a financial challenge for some people. If that is your situation, we recommend that you make your initial payment as soon as you can.

      If you would like to find out the current amount due for your initial payment and the amount of your on-going monthly payment, please complete this form and we will email you the information.

      COBRA Premium Request Form

  • I was offered COBRA coverage and am still within my election deadline

      Your election deadline has now been extended through the 60 day period following the end of the National Emergency. However, your coverage will not be reinstated with the insurance carrier until you make your election and make full initial payment. For example, if your first day of COBRA is 4/1/2020 and you do not elect until 6/28/2020, you will need to pay the total monthly premium for April, May, and June to satisfy your initial payment and be reinstated with your insurance carrier.

      Paying several months of past premiums all at once may be a financial challenge for some people. If that is your situation, we recommend that if you intend to elect COBRA, you do so and make your initial payment as soon as you can.

      If you would like to find out the current amount due for your initial payment and the amount of your on-going monthly payment, please complete this form and we will email you the information.

      COBRA Premium Request Form

  • I was offered COBRA coverage but I didn’t elect in time

      If your last day to elect COBRA was on or after 3/1/2020, you can elect now as election deadlines were paused on 3/1/2020. You can elect at any point during the National Emergency and the 60 day period after it ends. However, coverage will not be reinstated with the insurance carrier until your full initial payment is made. For example, if you elect on 5/22/2020 and your first day of COBRA is 1/1/2020, you will need to make payment for January, February, March, April, and May for coverage to be reinstated.

      If you would like to find out the current amount due for your initial payment and the amount of your on-going monthly payment, please complete this form and we will email you the information.

      COBRA Premium Request Form


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