What are COBRA Qualifying Events and The COBRA Notices and Forms

What is Cobra Coverage, Cobra Qualifying Events and The Cobra Notices and Forms

What is COBRA Insurance Coverage?

COBRA is a health insurance program that allows people to continue their employer provided group health plan coverage after they leave their job.

COBRA can be used by people who are looking for a new job, or by people who have retired or lost their job.

COBRA continuation coverage can be expensive, but it can be a good option for people who need to maintain their health insurance coverage.

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insurance, protection, family, Cobra Qualifying Events and The Cobra Notices and Forms

When was COBRA Continuation Coverage Introduced?

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) was introduced in 1986. The COBRA law requires employers with 20 or more active employees to offer continued health insurance coverage to employees (and their families) when certain “qualifying events” occur.

Qualifying events for cobra coverage include, but are not limited to, termination of employment (for reasons other than gross misconduct), reduction in the number of hours worked, and death of the employee.

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Why Should I Elect to Choose Cobra Insurance Coverage?

There are several reasons why a person might choose to elect COBRA Insurance Coverage after loss of a job.

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Continuity of Healthcare.

Cobra qualifying events are those life changes that would normally cause a person to lose their health insurance coverage.

Using COBRA insurance coverage allows a person to continue to see their doctor and fill prescriptions without interruptions. It also helps to maintain continuity of care for serious health conditions.

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Finding a New Health Care Provider

Every insurance plan is different requiring patients to go to certain doctors that are in each insurance plan network. Additionally, different medicines are covered or not covered under different insurance plans.

If a person has a doctor they like and their existing plan covers their doctor visits and all their medicines, having to find and work with a new doctor who is unfamiliar with your particular health situation might be a critical factor in choosing to enroll in COBRA Continuing coverage.

Also, under a new insurance plan maybe some but not all of your current medicines are no longer covered and you will have to pay the full out of pocket amount for certain medicines if you change plans. This could mean hundreds if not thousands of out-of-pocket expenses each month which some people, especially those who just lost their job, cannot do.

Continuation of your current doctor and medicines is a major factor to consider. COBRA continuation coverage gives you some breathing room while you search for alternatives.

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The Time Required to Find a New Plan is Significant

It can take some time and effort to find a new health insurance plan through sites such as healthcare.gov. Often times this is an effort that spans a few days to a few weeks.

Losing a job is a major disruption to a person’s life. Choosing to elect continuation coverage through Cobra, will take some of the stress and strain off newly dismissed employees.

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When does an Employee qualify for COBRA coverage?

In order to be eligible for COBRA, an individual must have been covered by a group health plan on the day before a cobra qualifying event occurred.

Once an individual is determined to be eligible for COBRA, they will have the option to continue their coverage for a specified period of time. The length of time that an individual can continue their coverage will depend on the qualifying event that occurred.

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What are the COBRA Qualifying Events?

There are four types of qualifying events that can trigger an individual’s right to elect COBRA continuation coverage.
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The qualifying events are:

  • Termination or reduction in hours of employment
  • Death of the employee
  • Divorce or legal separation from the employee
  • A dependent child ceasing to be eligible for coverage under the employee’s group health coverage plan.

Not all of these events will entitle an individual to the same length of COBRA coverage. For example, if an individual is terminated from their job (other than for gross misconduct), they will be entitled to continue their health insurance coverage for up to 18 months. However, if an individual’s hours are reduced, they will only be entitled to continue their coverage for up to 36 months.
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What is the Company Required to Do?

When a qualifying event occurs, the employer must provide the affected employees (and their families) with a notice explaining their rights and options under COBRA. One such right is to elect continuation coverage.

What Forms must be provided to a covered employee

There are several different forms that employers need to be aware of when it comes to COBRA. These include the Notice of Commencement of COBRA Continuation Coverage, the Election Notice, and the General Notice.

These forms are used in the administration of COBRA coverage for a covered employee.

Employers should also be familiar with the COBRA Continuation Coverage Premium Reduction Act of 2015, which provides a subsidy for employees who elect to continue their health insurance coverage under COBRA.
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What is the Notice of Commencement of COBRA Continuation Coverage?

The Notice of Commencement of COBRA Continuation Coverage is a confirmation letter indicating that you are enrolled in the COBRA health coverage.

The Notice will indicate when your coverage began, it will explain what continuation coverage is, who is receiving the coverage such as the covered employee, their spouse and any dependents.

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What is the COBRA Election Notice?

The COBRA Election Notice will detail how the qualified beneficiary can activate their cobra election, how they can contact their plan administrator, the premium amount, where the premium amount should be sent as well as the due date of the premium.
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What is the COBRA General Notice?

The General Notice is a general introduction to explain what COBRA is, when continuation coverage becomes available to you, how the coverage is provided, who this coverage is available to, and how you can protect your rights to get COBRA Coverage, and other options. It also explains how to keep in contact with your plan administrator.

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What Actions Must a Covered Employee Take?

A covered employee has 60 days to elect to continue their health insurance coverage.

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Who Pays for COBRA Coverage?

If an employee elects to do so, they will be responsible for paying the entire cobra premium payments, plus a 2% administrative fee.

A person must make their premium cobra payments every month or they risk loosing coverage under the plan.

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What is the Period of COBRA Coverage?

Coverage under COBRA can last for up to 18 months (36 months in some cases).

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Which Health Plans is COBRA Applicable to?

COBRA applies to employer-sponsored health plans, including both private and public sector plans.

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COBRA election periods:

An individual who experiences a qualifying event has 60 days from the date of the event to elect COBRA continuation coverage. If an individual does not elect COBRA within this 60-day period, they will lose their right to continue their health insurance coverage under the plan.

An individual’s COBRA election period begins on the date of the qualifying event. For example, if an employee is terminated from their job on January 1, they would have until March 2 to elect COBRA coverage. If they did not elect COBRA within this 60-day period, they would lose their right to continue their health insurance coverage under the plan.

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How long does COBRA coverage last?

The length of time that an individual can continue their health insurance coverage under COBRA will depend on the qualifying event that occurred.

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What are the Notice requirements for COBRA?

Employers must provide employees with notice of their right to elect COBRA continuation coverage within 14 days of the qualifying event. This notice must be provided to all qualified beneficiaries, including the employee, their spouse, and their dependent children.

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When does Cobra Coverage begin?

Cobra coverage occurs on the date of the qualifying event. For example, if an employee is terminated from their job on January 1, they would have until March 2 to elect COBRA coverage. The coverage is retroactive back to January 2. If they did not elect COBRA within this 60-day period, they would lose their right to continue their health insurance coverage under the plan.
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Who is covered by the Cobra Continuation Coverage?

Cobra continuation coverage is available to the employee and their spouse. In some cases, it may also be available to the dependent children of the employee.

Dependent children who are covered by the employee’s health insurance plan on the date of the qualifying event are eligible for COBRA continuation coverage.

This includes both biological and adopted children, as well as step-children who are financially dependent on the employee. In some cases, foster children may also be eligible for COBRA continuation coverage.

COBRA qualifying events are certain life events that trigger an individual’s right to elect COBRA continuation coverage. Qualifying events include, but are not limited to, voluntary or involuntary termination of employment, reduction in hours worked, death of the covered employee, divorce or legal separation of the covered employee from his or her spouse, and a covered employee becoming entitled to Medicare benefits.

COBRA continuation coverage may also be available to certain dependents of covered employees, such as spouses and children. The COBRA qualifying event must have occurred while the dependent was covered under the employer’s group health plan.

If you experience a COBRA qualifying event, you will generally have 60 days from the date of the event to elect COBRA continuation coverage.

Once you have elected COBRA, you will have up to 18 months (36 months in some cases) of coverage.

COBRA continuation coverage is not free – you will be required to pay the full premium, plus a 2% administrative fee.

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Where do I get the Cobra Election Forms?

There are a few ways that you can obtain the COBRA election forms. The first way is to contact your employer’s human resources department and request the forms.

Another way is to download the forms from the Department of Labor’s website. Finally, you can also request the forms from your health insurance company.

Your employer or the cobra plan administrator has only 45 days to send you the paperwork. You have 60 days to elect coverage once you receive the form.

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What if I do not receive the Cobra Election Forms?

If you do not receive the COBRA election forms within 45 days of your qualifying event, you should contact your employer or the cobra plan administrator. You may also want to contact your state’s department of insurance to file a complaint.

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How much will my Cobra Premium Be?

Cobra Insurance Coverage is a continuation of the insurance plan you had prior to the qualifying event. Therefore, your applicable premium will be same premium amount as it was before you lost your job.

However, you will pay a higher amount than you did while your employment was active. The reason is, the employer is no longer paying a portion of the premium amount and you now have to pay the full applicable premium amount. Your premium will go up but your coverage will remain the same as it was.

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Is COBRA Retroactive?

Yes. Cobra is retroactive to the day after your qualifying event and you have 60 days to sign up for Cobra. This means you will have to pay any back payments to the day after your previous coverage ended to keep your coverage alive.

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Does COBRA have a Premium Grace Period

COBRA allows a 30-day grace period for missed payments.

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What if I Miss a COBRA Payment?

COBRA allows a 30-day grace period for missed payments. However, coverage is automatically terminated if payments lapse longer than 30 days. Once your coverage is terminated, it cannot be reinstated. At that point your only option is to shop for new coverage with a private health insurance provider directly or try healthcare.gov.

How the Mapertunity Experience is Different

When we designed Mapertunity, we optimized for both the candidate and the hiring managers experience.

  • Candidate wants to find jobs that are not only a perfect fit for them but are closest to where they are currently located.
  • Hiring Managers wants to find the perfect candidate and would love to avoid the expenses of relocating someone.

Mapertunity brings both of these desires together. But it does much more than that. Mapertunity removes all the friction that the current system has built into it. There is no more guessing what candidates are available or what jobs are available. Both available jobs and available candidates in a geographic searchable region are simply displayed on the map to be further explored. In addition, contact information is not hidden for either the Hiring Manager or potential Candidates. There are no hidden barriers, like third party recruiters, between candidates and job posters.

There is currently no system in the world that will tell a company how many actual workers are available within any geographic region in the world.

There is currently no system in the world that will display on a map all the jobs and all the companies hiring in any geographic region in the world.

Just center the map on your location and press SEARCH.

Mapertunity can do this. Mapertunitye will show you where both the jobs and the candidates are located. There is no system that will tell workers which companies are hiring in any geographic radius where the job seeker might be interested in searching.

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Mapertunity reduces the global carbon footprint of both workers and businesses.

We believe the closer a job is to someone’s current location, the more likely they will stay in that job and the closer a worker is to a business, the more likely a business will be able to hold onto those workers. Economist calls this “being sticky”.

Global Carbon Footprint. best talent acquisition strategy

On Mapertunity you can Job and Candidate Search By:

  • Job Title or Keyword
  • City
  • State/Region
  • Country
  • Postal Code
  • Industry
  • Distance from Map Center ( Search the whole Earth if you want)

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Everything You Need to Know About Applicant Tracking Systems and Why They Shouldn’t Be Used

Searching for a new hire can be a stressful time for any hiring manager. The short-staffed department is always pressuring us to find someone quickly while coordinating the application process can be frustrating.

Given the deluge of applications that inevitably come in via LinkedIn and other websites, you may be tempted to use an applicant tracking system to simplify the process. However, try to avoid this if you can! Here are eight reasons why using an applicant tracking system may not be the best idea.

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1. You Will Be Using the Same Process as Your Competition

This reason is probably the most obvious, but it’s also the best. Enjoy getting into competition with other companies for a new hire? Well, we almost certainly will if everyone is using the same applicant tracking system and the same prospect appears on everyone’s radar. You may find yourself bidding against multiple companies in order to snatch that new hire, simply because the applicant tracking system likes his resume. That alone is a good reason to avoid using an applicant tracking system.

2. Applicant Tracking Systems Ignore Experience and Stability

An applicant tracking system may be useful when trying to find people who are proficient with a particular software program. However, it won’t help too much when determining experience. A job prospect may have twenty years of experience in assisting customers, but if the prospect doesn’t have the resume keyword that the system is looking for, the entire resume will be discarded.

This tends to hurt older, more stable job hunters and puts the spotlight on young job seekers with a lot of keywords used in their resumes. Unfortunately, the results can be a “turnstile” office, in which people get hired, work at a company for a little while, and then leave. For a hiring manager, this outcome is never desirable.

3. It’s Too Easy to Fool an Applicant Tracking System

Even if applicant tracking systems worked well, unfortunately, job seekers are catching on. Many of them now are deliberately loading their resumes with the types of words that they know these searchers are looking for. Whether these resumes are factual or not is inconsequential to them. These job seekers are trying to game the system, and applicant tracking systems are a weak link of that system. Increasingly, applicant tracking systems are simply being bypassed by savvy job seekers.

4. The Applicant Tracking System Is Not Flexible Enough

For certain types of skills, applicant tracking systems are adequate. Listing a particular computer language or software program will usually be possible with these systems. However, what about softer skills? For example, suppose I need a technical copywriter with a background in storytelling? Do I use “writing” as the keyword, or do I use “storytelling”? Perhaps I need “technical writing” as my keywords. However, suppose the ideal candidate uses “technical writer” on their resume and the tracking system ignores it because the keywords don’t match. There are probably fifteen possible keywords for this position alone.

Also, many positions require the knowledge of basic software packages that aren’t even listed on resumes anymore. Setting an applicant tracking system to look for “Microsoft Word” is futile. Most applicants won’t list that they know Word, because every job seeker is assumed to know Word. Trying to run a keyword search with “Microsoft Word” will only give confusing results.

5. The File Formats Can Be Limiting

For a while, advice given to job seekers was to submit all resumes in .docx format so that applicant tracking systems could check them. This advice has changed recently, but applicants who submit resumes in .pdf and other formats could still see themselves being disadvantaged in the job hunt due to applicant tracking systems.

Completely dismissing all resumes not submitted in Word format is arbitrary and limiting. While some applicant tracking systems may be able to read other file formats, not considering .pdf or .odt resumes is unfair and could be hurtful to the company’s goal of hiring the best employee. Many job applicants are being dismissed simply due to the software program they use to type up their resumes.

Also, consider the applicant who drops off a typewritten resume. This applicant is most likely more ambitious and motivated than the applicant who simply clicks a button to provide a resume, but an applicant tracking system will never see it. So, the applicant is at a disadvantage.

6. Extra-Curricular Activities and Interests Are Also Ignored

Using an applicant tracking system makes anything not covered by the search useless. This includes any relevant activities and interests.

Need someone to adjudicate meetings as well as code? A prospective employee’s service on the student judiciary may be overlooked by an applicant tracking system.

Need someone to make presentations? A resume listing five years of public speaking experience may be completely ignored by an applicant tracking system.

7. Applicants May Not Be Able to Submit Resumes for Two Open Positions

Many job tracking programs actually will not allow an applicant to apply for two open positions at the same company. Instead, it will discard one of the resumes submitted as a duplicate. This can have a negative effect on extremely qualified applicants and should be taken into consideration by any hiring manager.

Just this negative feature alone should be a reason why many companies decide to avoid using employment trackers and do the hard work themselves instead of attempting to automate.

8. Employment Trackers Eliminate the Feel of the Job Market

Hiring managers should be familiar with resume and applicant trends. If managers decide to automate their jobs with employment trackers, they lose out on valuable sources of information as to how the job market is changing. Trends in resumes will be unseen and shifts in hard and soft skills will be unnoticed. This will create a lag in adaptability to the market, and the hiring manager’s company may be caught flat-footed if a change happens quickly.

Avoid Employment Trackers!

While trying to find the perfect candidate for employment may be daunting, the savvy hiring manager should avoid using an employment tracker. Instead, with a little sifting and some hard work, a hiring manager can conduct a job candidate hunt that is both successful and informative.

How to Find Candidates – Use Mapertunity!

If you’re a hiring manager looking to connect with qualified applicants, contact us at Mapertunity! We’re here to help.

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Knock Their Socks Off: 7 Job Interview Tips That Guarantee Success

So, you’ve followed all our suggestions on job hunting, and now you finally have scored a job interview with the company of your dreams. Congratulations! Here are some job interview tips to help you ace that interview and score the job you’ve always wanted.

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1. Research the Company

This job interview tip may seem basic, but it’s always a good rule of thumb to look up the company conducting the interview. With the internet basically at everyone’s fingertips, it doesn’t make any sense to avoid seeing what the hiring company’s needs are, and how you could fit into those plans.

Similarly, many hiring managers quiz interviewees on their knowledge regarding the company. If an applicant can’t answer simple questions, the manager assumes the interviewee simply isn’t all that interested in the company or the position. Trust us, make sure to research the company.

2. Ask About Attire Before the Interview

When notified that you have a job interview, there will always be an opportunity to ask questions before the big day. One question that you should always ask is what type of attire is appropriate for the interview. Traditionally, women and men would wear suits to work every day. Now, times have changed, and different offices have different dress standards. The easiest way to find out what to wear is to ask the hiring manager for confirmation.

For example, you can ask something like “should I wear a suit or is business casual okay?” This allows the hiring manager to make the final decision while showing that you understand the clothing needs of the workplace.

Under no circumstances should you ever arrive at a job interview in casual clothing, no matter what the hiring manager may say. Unless your position involves physical labor, dress in at least business casual. Otherwise, you run the risk of underdressing for the interview, and therefore the job.

3. Be On-Time

This seems like another basic job interview tip, but you would be surprised how often interviewees blow a big interview because they don’t make it on-time to the meeting. Make sure to allocate enough time for anything and everything to go wrong, as it inevitably will, and similarly make sure that any type of transportation that you decide to use is working properly.

If you are using a ride-sharing service, make sure that your smartphone is fully charged the night before the interview. Losing out on a great job because of a dead cell phone is heartbreaking, but it does happen.

If you are driving, make sure that your car is as reliable as possible. Plan for the unexpected, as anything may occur on the day of a job interview.

Finally, if the unthinkable does happen and you have a medical emergency or a car accident, call the company immediately and apologize. Most likely, the company will reschedule the job interview in this case, and if they don’t, maybe the job wasn’t so great after all.

4. Bring Multiple Resumes

Most interviewers will inevitably ask you for another resume when you’re being interviewed, no matter how many you’ve sent previously. Expecting the interviewer to print out the resumes before you arrive will appear as if you are unprepared for the interview.

Keeping this in mind, always have at least two extra copies of your resume on-hand, and possibly bring three or four. Printing resumes are cheap, and it doesn’t make any sense to have an awkward moment during a job interview because there aren’t enough resumes to go around.

5. Have References Ready

Most of us procrastinate on contacting references and letting them know that a prospective employer may be calling and asking questions. However, just before a job interview is an excellent time to let references know that they may be getting a call.

Of course, it goes without saying that you should ask someone’s permission before listing them as a reference for anything, especially for something as important as a job. Make sure that all contact information is up to date for the reference and bring a written list that you can easily hand over when the interviewer asks.

6. Prepare for Common Questions

Job interviews tend to ask the same questions, and it would be foolish of you not to be prepared. For example, one common question is “What do you consider to be your greatest weakness?” The unprepared interviewee usually says something like “I don’t have any weaknesses”, which is probably untrue. Everyone has a weakness in one form or another. The interviewee sounds naïve or, at worst, dishonest.

Instead, decide on answers to questions like these beforehand, and be honest, although putting yourself in the best light is also a recommended job interview tip. Whether you’re a slow, methodical worker who takes a while to understand things or you enjoy certain tasks more than others, these traits have their beneficial sides too and can be explained in a positive light.

However, if you have serious issues in the workplace, such as procrastination or an inability to get along with your co-workers, you should be working on those. Therapy or self-help may go a long way in helping with those issues and finding a job may be easier with the treatments that these remedies impart.

7. Treat Everyone with Respect

No matter who you are or what position you are interviewing for, realize that everyone working for the company is valuable. Treat the receptionist and parking attendant with dignity. You never know who is related to whom, and many job interviews have been torpedoed by a mild case of road rage in a parking garage right before a meeting.

Seven Job Interview Tips for a New Professional Life

Although these job interview tips may seem like no-brainers, they will help in nearly every job interview. Take the time to study them, and you will be giving yourself a leg up on the competition. While jobs are plentiful today, a great job that fits your talents is still rare. Give yourself every opportunity at happiness by following these job interview tips.

Ready to land the job of your dreams? Let us help you! Fill out a personal profile on Mapertunity today.

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