NO. 1: ONE COBRA
NOTICE COVERS BOTH SPOUSES
In Underwood v. Fluor Daniel, Inc. 1997 U.S. App. Lexis 1410
(4th Cir. 1997), the court awarded statutory penalties to a
dependent spouse who did not receive a separately addressed COBRA
notice even though the reason the spouse lost continuation coverage
was her failure to pay premiums.
NO. 2: PARTNERS ARE
EMPLOYEES FOR ALL COBRA PURPOSES
Under final IRS regulations, partners do not count as employees for
purposes of the COBRA exemption for employers with fewer than 20
NO. 3: THERE'S NO
SUCH THING AS STATE LAW CONTINUATION
In Illinois, continuation coverage is required for group health
plans, and such coverage can be required for up to ten years in the
case of a 55 year old divorced or widowed spouse.
NO. 4: COBRA
NOTICES ARE ONLY REQUIRED WHEN AN EMPLOYEE OR COVERED FAMILY MEMBER
INCURS A QUALIFYING EVENT
COBRA notices are also required when an employee or covered spouse
first becomes eligible for group health coverage (this includes, as
an example, a new spouse, who should receive a separate notice of
COBRA rights when coverage begins).
NO. 5: COBRA
REQUIRES INVOICES AND LATE PAYMENT NOTICES TO BE SENT TO EMPLOYEES
ON CONTINUATION COVERAGE
The only notice required in connection with a qualifying event is
the statutory COBRA election notice.
There is no duty to give any subsequent notices of premium
due dates, non-receipt of payment, or any impending loss of coverage
for failure to pay premiums. However,
employers have to provide notice and an extended payment period if a
COBRA beneficiary tenders a substantial partial payment of a premium
for continuation coverage.
NO. 6: COBRA CONTINUATION COVERAGE ENDS AT AGE 65
Continuation coverage ends when an employee or dependent on COBRA
becomes "entitled" to Medicare. This means actual
enrollment in the Medicare program not just attaining eligibility to
enroll at age 65.
Golan & Christie LLP
70 West Madison St.
Chicago, Illinois 60602