We’ve all heard that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. Regardless of the accuracy of this statement, it is reasonably certain that divorce or legal separation will happen within a workforce with 20 or more full time employees (the federal COBRA threshold). Thus, just like death, taxes, and Affordable Care Act reporting, divorce is one of those unpleasant certainties for which we must prepare.
The COBRA Blog
Employers establish wellness plans to promote healthy lifestyles among employees. Healthier employees hopefully leads to better control of costs under the employer’s health plan. However, the individuals responsible for the employer’s wellness plan compliance will likely be left with a headache.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the compliance spotlight has shifted away from COBRA. Some opinion pieces have even called for the death of COBRA. These opinions overlook many of COBRA’s key benefits. For example, COBRA allows participants to take advantage of dollars already spent to satisfy deductibles. Unlike Marketplace coverage, COBRA provides retroactive coverage - thus preventing a gap. COBRA also takes into account all of the members of the family (creating Qualified Beneficiaries), not just the employee.
On April 1, 2015, the IRS published its most recent Employee Plans Newsletter. You can access the newsletter at http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Employee-Plans-News.
A recent case illustration:
Leaves of absence can cause major COBRA headaches. In one recent case (Cole v. Trinity Health Corp., 774 F.3d 423, 8th Cir. Dec. 15, 2014), an employee exhausted all available short term disability leave and then applied for long term disability benefits (LTD). The LTD carrier reviewed her application for three months and ultimately denied LTD benefits.
Tags: COBRA leave of absence
Tags: aca update
If you employ under 50 full-time employees and reimburse those employees for the cost of their individual health insurance, the IRS just cut you a (temporary) break. Just this week, the IRS issued guidance that wipes away potential penalties for 2014 and for the first six months of 2015.
Tags: COBRA during divorce
COBRA CONUNDRUMS is reprinted from the September 2014 issue of Health Insurance Underwriter Magazine featuring our very own Robert Meyers.
It happens every year. You survive another busy holiday season, celebrate another New Year’s Eve, and embark on another year with renewed goals and a fresh outlook.