How COBRA Works
Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), you may purchase (at your expense) extended coverage for health care, dental, and flexible spending accounts for you and/or your qualified beneficiaries if you lose coverage under a group plan due to termination of employment or a reduction of work hours. This coverage is available for up to 18 months, except if a beneficiary is disabled according to Social Security guidelines, in which case the coverage for that beneficiary may be extended to 29 months. If any family member enrolled in the plan loses coverage due to one of the following events, he/she may purchase continued coverage at his/her own expense, without proof of insurability, under the group plan for up to 36 months: death of employee, entitlement of the employee to Medicare benefits; divorce; or a child reaches the maximum age of dependent coverage.
The Right to Continue Purchasing Group Coverage
Coverage may terminate before 18 or 36 months (whichever applies) if:
- You fail to pay the required premium on time;
- The plan terminates;
- The person continuing coverage becomes a covered employee under another group health plan which does not have a pre-existing condition clause; or
- In the case of a spouse beneficiary, the spouse remarries and is covered under another group health plan which does not have a pre-existing condition clause.
If you become divorced or your child reaches the maximum age of dependent coverage, you must notify the Department of Human Resources within 60 days of the qualifying event. Please see the General Notice for important details. In other qualifying circumstances, you will be notified that continuation coverage is available and you must then make an election. If you do not receive notice of your opportunity to elect continuation coverage, immediately contact the Department of Human Resources for an election form. You must decide whether or not you want to purchase continued coverage within 60 days from the later of: the date coverage ends, or the date you are notified of your eligibility. Failure to meet the plan’s requirements makes you ineligible. You may be entitled to purchase an individual conversion policy when you are no longer covered under the employer’s group plan. If you elect coverage under COBRA, the effective date is the day after coverage stops under the regular group plan. Contact the Department of Human Resources at 501-4355 for information about COBRA coverage.
Other Important Details
If COBRA coverage is elected, it will begin as soon as your group coverage ends. COBRA premiums are paid on a monthly basis and are due at the first of the month. Payments should be mailed to the Department of Human Resources. Checks or money orders should be made payable to: County of Henrico. If you wish to no longer continue with COBRA coverage, contact the Benefits Division. COBRA coverage will automatically terminate if payment is not received in our office in a timely manner. To find out about enrolling in continuation coverage (COBRA), contact the Benefits Division.
When does my COBRA coverage begin?
COBRA coverage begins as soon as your group coverage ends.
When do I send payment?
Cobra premiums are paid on a monthly basis. To avoid termination of coverage, payments are due at the first of the month with a 30 day grace period.
Where do I send payment?
Payments are mailed to the Henrico Department of Human Resources, P.O. Box 90775, Henrico, VA 23273-0775. Checks or money orders made payable to the County of Henrico are accepted.
How do I sign up for COBRA?
You will receive information and election forms by mail to the address on file with Henrico County within 14 days after the Department of Human Resources is made aware of your qualifying event. Complete the forms and return them to the Department of Human Resources either by mail or in person on or before the deadline to elect coverage.
What do I do if I no longer want COBRA insurance?
A call to our office at 501-7371 to let us know that you will no longer require the coverage is sufficient. However, COBRA will automatically terminate if payment is not received in our office in a timely manner.
Is this coverage the same as my group coverage?
Will I get a new insurance card?
Is COBRA available for dental care?