The health coverage continuation provisions of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) have been in place for over 30 years, but there are still significant areas of confusion and administrative difficulty. Increases in the number of lawsuits by employees against employers and the possible imposition of excise taxes by the IRS make COBRA noncompliance risky and possibly expensive. Potentially difficult issues include the content and timing of COBRA notices, identification of the individuals who are eligible for COBRA, determination of the maximum coverage periods and premiums, potential damages and penalties, COBRA requirements for health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), and the noncompliance self-reporting requirements of the IRS.
Join Christine Williams, founder of Health Plan Plain Talk, as she reviews the basic requirements of COBRA compliance for employer-sponsored health plans, common administrative problems, recent lawsuits challenging employers’ COBRA practices, and the relationship between COBRA and non-COBRA continuation coverage.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
Just a sampling of what will be covered:
- Employers and health plans that must comply with COBRA
- The initial notice and the election notice, and when they must be provided
- Other required notices
- Qualifying events and qualified beneficiaries
- The maximum COBRA coverage period
- Determination of the COBRA premium
- COBRA and health FSAs and HRAs
- Best practices to document provision of required notices
- COBRA and domestic partners
- Non-COBRA continuation coverage
- AND MUCH MORE!
YOUR CONFERENCE LEADER
Your conference leader for “COBRA Basics for Employer-Sponsored Health Plans: Complying with Continuing Coverage Requirements” is Christine Williams. Ms. Williams is the founder of Health Plan Plain Talk and has worked in the employee benefits field since 1987, both in private practice and as in-house counsel to a Fortune 100 company. She has extensive experience with all types of health and welfare plans, and was the editor and a contributing author of HIPAA Portability, Privacy, & Security, published by Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA), a division of ThomsonReuters, and is still a contributor to that publication. She was also a contributing author of Health Care Reform for Employers and Advisors, also published by EBIA. She has provided advice on HIPAA, health care reform, ERISA, COBRA and compliance to a wide range of benefit plans, employers that sponsor benefit plans, and business associates. She regularly teaches seminars for employee benefit professionals. Before moving into employee benefits Ms. Williams was an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Law. She earned her law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law.