You have the option of continuing your County health plans coverage under a federal program called COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). COBRA allows you to continue your medical, dental, vision, and Employee Assistance Program (EAP). You may also be eligible to continue your Health Flexible Spending Account depending on your Health FSA account balance at time of separation. Coverage can generally be continued for up to 18 months, provided you pay 100% of the premiums plus a 2% administration fee.
Cobra Notice and Election Forms
You will automatically receive a COBRA Notification with information regarding your eligibility and options to continue health plan coverage within 45 days after your last day of coverage. You will receive the COBRA offer at your home address from a third party administrator, Discovery Benefits, Inc. If you do not receive your COBRA information, contact Human Resources Benefits Unit at (707) 565-2900. If you have questions after you receive your COBRA offer, please contact Discovery Benefits, Inc. at 1 (866) 451-3399or www.discoverybenefits.com.
Be sure to keep your payroll clerk informed of any address changes for you and your eligible dependents or update your address on the county’s Employee Self Service site available on the internet. https://selfservice.sonomacounty.ca.gov/selfService/action.login.
Election of Continuing Coverage
You only have 60 days from the date you receive the COBRA Notification to make your elections for COBRA continuation coverage. COBRA health plan coverage options the same as the options you had as an employee:
- You choose which specific health plans you wish to continue. For example, you may choose to continue your dental coverage, but not your medical coverage. You have the option to drop coverage for any one or all of your dependents at the time you elect COBRA coverage.
- You and each of your eligible dependents have a separate right to elect COBRA coverage. This means that your eligible dependent may choose health plan coverage, but you are not required to also enroll yourself in the plan for your dependent’s coverage to continue under COBRA.
- While on COBRA, you may not add coverage for anyone not already covered except you may add newly eligible dependents such as a newborn. However, newly eligible dependents may only be added to health plans in which you are enrolled. The newly eligible dependents do not have an independent right to coverage and may only remain on your COBRA coverage while you are eligible for COBRA coverage.
You must pay the premiums to Discovery Benefits, Inc. within 45 days of your initial election, retroactive to the last day of employee coverage. No gaps in coverage are permitted between your County coverage and your elected COBRA continuation coverage for any reason. You may want to elect coverage promptly upon receipt of the COBRA notice to prevent a gap in medical services while in the election period and to prevent a large retroactive premium invoice. After the initial COBRA premium payment to bring your premiums current, you will be required to make timely monthly premium payments which are due on the first of each month. Failure to pay benefits timely will result in forfeiture of COBRA continuation coverage.
COBRA website information: http://hr.sonoma-county.org/content.aspx?sid=1024&id=1589
Discovery Benefits, Inc.
Back to top