At times, we hear the phrase “COBRA is COBRA”, but not every COBRA solution is created equally. The improper handling of your COBRA services can create huge financial consequences for employers.
Avoid COBRA administration pitfalls by answering these five questions about your current COBRA solution:
Do you have proper proof of mailing?
Most COBRA claims are made against employers due to an improper notification. A proper proof of mailing will have date stamp evidence regarding when the notification was mailed and exactly what documents/information was provided in the notification. While you may be tempted to simply send a COBRA notice in the mail, you may have a difficult time proving that the notification occurred.
Do you have record retention procedures in place?
There is generally a requirement to maintain records for up to seven years. An electronic records policy is preferred as it makes data more accessible. However, a properly managed paper records system would still be acceptable.
Who will assist COBRA participants if they encounter issues?
COBRA can be confusing from what documents must be completed to when payment is due and how coverage is reinstated. This can be hard to navigate for even the savviest of consumers. It is important that individuals have the support they need without creating stress for the former employer.
Where do you find COBRA expertise?
When COBRA is handled as an administrative or human resource function, it is like riding on a ship with no captain. You might get where you need to go, but you are likely to encounter some rough patches and costly detours along the way.
Is there enough flexibility available?
There are many rules and deadlines associated with COBRA, but sometimes there are unique circumstances which require a degree of discretion. It is important as the employer, you maintain the ability to determine when exceptions are appropriate.