COBRA is the abbreviation of Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. Under federal law, groups with 20 or more employees are required to offer continuation of their current group health coverage, medical, dental and/ or vision, to certain former employees and their families, if applicable, upon the occurrence of certain “qualifying events”.

Some qualifying events may include:

  • Voluntary or involuntary termination of employment for any reason other than gross misconduct;
  • Reduction in the number of hours of employment;
  • Death of the covered employee;
  • Divorce of the covered employee from the employee’s spouse;
  • Entitlement to Medicare for the covered employee;
  • Loss of dependent child status under the plan rules.

The Insurance & Benefits Management Department will receive notification when an employee’s job with the District will end. Once notified, the Insurance & Benefits Management Department will send information to the employee advising him/ her of what benefits they currently have and the benefit termination date for each, which can be extended through COBRA.

COBRA allows former employees to continue their current benefits for themselves and dependents, if applicable, up to a maximum of 18 months. The former employee will have up to 60 days from the benefit termination date or the date of the notice, the later of the two, to elect the benefit(s) they wish to continue. Once elected, the COBRA participant, the former employee, will have up to 45 days to pay the first premium. COBRA coverage begins the day after the benefit termination date. If COBRA is canceled due to non-payment or is voluntarily canceled, it can never be reinstated.

Through COBRA, the benefits the former employee had will remain the same. Plan changes cannot be made at the time of termination. COBRA participants will have the same opportunity as active employees to make during the District’s Annual Open Enrollment in January/ February.

Under Federal Law, there is a two percent (2%) surcharge in addition to the benefit premiums.

For additional information, please email [email protected] or call 239.337.8321.

PayFlex Systems USA is the District’s third-party administrator for COBRA. Their customer service phone number is 1.888.678.7835. Their hours of operation are Monday through Friday: 7 am – 7 pm (CT) and Saturday: 9 am – 2 pm (CT).