We’ve all heard of ROI, but are you familiar with the new acronym – ROO? It stands for “Return on Outsourcing.” It may not be on your business radar, but it should be. Faced with fierce competition and a fickle economy, many companies are honing efficiencies to gain a competitive edge. In many cases, that means focusing on your strengths and outsourcing your weaknesses … and outsourcing COBRA administration.
The COBRA Blog
Every year, a large percentage of employers make a serious mistake when they change health plans. It’s not an intentional mistake – in fact, employers often don’t even realize what they’re doing until it’s too late. What is this costly mistake that leaves many an HR professional weeping with regret after the New Year? It is automatically changing COBRA administrators just because there’s a change in the health plan provider.
According to PwC's Deals mid-year review and outlook report, mergers and acquisitions in 2022 decreased by nearly 17%, but unemployment rates are still wildly low. With this kind of continuous activity, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the complexities of COBRA during mergers and acquisitions.
Under COBRA, eligible qualified beneficiaries must be offered continued health care coverage after a qualifying event. The qualified beneficiary can then select either to refuse continued coverage or to enroll in continued coverage. Sometimes, however, such a decision is not possible because the qualified beneficiary is incapacitated. When that happens, the employer must ensure that requirements for COBRA notices and election periods are still met.
COBRA administration can be confusing in the best of times. When you add complicating factors, it can seem downright baffling. Take COBRA and Medicare. Dealing with one can be a challenge – but what if your employees are dealing with both? Here’s how COBRA and Medicare interact.
COBRA administration is complicated and confusing, but it is also consistent. As readers know, we look at COBRA mainly through the eyes of the COBRA or health Plan administrator, striving to address COBRA conundrums before they become a problem for the Department of Labor, the State Department of Insurance, the IRS, and especially the Federal Court.
Do you trust your COBRA administrator? This is an important question because as health insurance rates have skyrocketed, so too has the liability associated with COBRA administration. The ACA removed limits from policies, and in doing so, lifted the lid on potential COBRA errors as well. Remember, COBRA is compliance at its heart and the regulatory penalties which may be levied by the Department of Labor are significant. The insurance claims which COBRA participants might incur can be even more dangerous to the health plan than the penalties.
Since the onset of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014, employees who have lost health coverage due to a qualifying event have had the option of continuing their coverage by electing COBRA or by choosing their own health insurance plan through the Marketplace. Back then, some predicted that the ACA would make COBRA obsolete. Now, almost five years later, COBRA stands strong.
Well, another football season is upon us. The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are turning, and the sun shines brightly on the football fields across America. The season includes parties, tailgating, fantasy football, and games at every level – from pee-wee league to pro.
We’ve covered many COBRA administration twists and turns through the years. As COBRA has evolved, the challenges continue to increase. Leaves of Absence (LOA) during employment has made COBRA even more complex. LOA used to be about sick time and vacation. Now it can include leaves for maternity, paternity, personal, family, childcare, medical, military, sabbatical, adoption, ADA and other reasons.