Human Resources Benefits Unit

Temporary Continuation Coverage Rights Under COBRA

This notice has important information about your right to COBRA continuation coverage, which is a temporary extension of coverage for County-sponsored medical, dental, vision, and/or employee assistance plans.  This notice explains COBRA continuation coverage, when it may become available to you and your family, and what you need to do to protect your right to get it.  When you become eligible for COBRA, you may also become eligible for other coverage options that may cost less than COBRA continuation coverage.

The right to COBRA continuation coverage was created by a federal law, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).  COBRA continuation coverage can become available to you and other members of your family when group health coverage would otherwise end.  For more information about your rights and obligations under the Plan and under federal law, you should review the information contained on this page or contact the Plan Administrator, Discovery Benefits, Inc.

You may have other options available to you when you lose group health coverage.  For example, you may be eligible to buy an individual plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  By enrolling in coverage through the Marketplace, you may qualify for lower costs on your monthly premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs.  Additionally, you may qualify for a 30-day special enrollment period for another group health plan for which you are eligible (such as a spouse’s plan), even if that plan generally doesn’t accept late enrollees.

Upon the loss of  coverage, you will receive a COBRA Election Notice at your mailing address from the County's COBRA administrator. 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.

COBRA Continuation Coverage Contact Information

If you have questions regarding your COBRA Election Notice or continuation benefits please contact Discovery Benefits, Inc. at 1 (866) 451-3399.

What is COBRA Continuation Coverage?

COBRA continuation coverage is a continuation of Plan coverage when coverage would otherwise end because of a life event known as a "qualifying event." Specific qualifying events are listed below. After a qualifying event, COBRA continuation coverage must be offered to each person who is a "qualified beneficiary." You, your spouse, and your dependent children could become qualified beneficiaries if coverage under the Plan is lost because of the qualifying event. Under the Plan, qualified beneficiaries who elect COBRA continuation coverage must pay for COBRA continuation coverage.

Employee

If you are an employee, you will become a qualified beneficiary if you lose your coverage under the Plan because either one of the following qualifying events happens:

  • Your hours of employment are reduced, or
  • Your employment ends for any reason other than your gross misconduct.

Spouse

If you are the spouse of an employee, you will become a qualified beneficiary if you lose your coverage under the Plan because any of the following qualifying events happens:

  • Your spouse dies;
  • Your spouse’s hours of employment are reduced;
  • Your spouse’s employment ends for any reason other than his or her gross misconduct;
  • Your spouse becomes entitled to Medicare benefits (under Part A, Part B, or both); or
  • You become divorced or legally separated from your spouse.

Dependent Children

Your dependent children will become qualified beneficiaries if they lose coverage under the Plan because any of the following qualifying events happens:

  • The parent-employee dies;
  • The parent-employee’s hours of employment are reduced;
  • The parent-employee’s employment ends for any reason other than his or her gross misconduct;
  • The parent-employee becomes entitled to Medicare benefits (Part A, Part B, or both);
  • The parents become divorced or legally separated; or
  • The child stops being eligible for coverage under the plan as a "dependent child."

Sometimes, filing a proceeding in bankruptcy under Title 11 of the United States Code can be a qualifying event. If a proceeding in bankruptcy is filed with respect to County of Sonoma, and that bankruptcy results in the loss of coverage of any retired employee covered under the Plan, the retired employee will become a qualified beneficiary with respect to the bankruptcy. The retired employee’s spouse, surviving spouse, and dependent children will also become qualified beneficiaries if bankruptcy results in the loss of their coverage under the Plan.

How much does COBRA costs?

Medical Benefit Monthly Rates (Non-Medicare)

Effective: June 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018

Plan

Self

Self + 1

Family

County Health Plan EPO

 $1,090.97

 $2,131.15

 $2,972.69

County Health Plan PPO

 $1,321.82

 $2,598.31

 $3,631.00

Kaiser Traditional $10 Copay HMO

 $751.88 $1,503.77 $2,127.82

Kaiser Hospital Services DHMO

 $605.39 $1,210.78  $1,713.25

Kaiser Deductible First HDHP

 $561.78 $1,123.55 $1,589.81

Sutter Health Plus Traditional $10 Copay HMO

 $586.56

 $1,173.20 $1,660.25

Sutter Health Plus Hospital Services DHMO

 $502.47 $1,005.01 $1,422.19

Sutter Health Plus Deductible First HDHP

 $472.95 $945.91 $1,338.46

Western Health Advantage Traditional $10 Copay HMO

 $708.27 $1,416.56 $2,004.42

Western Health Advantage Hospital Services DHMO

 $572.83 $1,145.66 $1,621.15

Western Health Advantage Deductible First HDHP

 $532.09 $1,064.19 $1,505.83

Medical Benefit Monthly Rates (Medicare)

Effective: June 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018

Plan

Self

Self + 1

Family

County Health Plan EPO

$586.95

$1,173.90

$1,760.85

County Health Plan PPO

$711.12

$1,422.25

$2,133.37

Kaiser Traditional $10 Copay HMO

$328.75 $657.49 $986.24

Kaiser Hospital Services DHMO

$328.75 $657.49 $986.24

Kaiser Deductible First HDHP

$328.75 $657.49 $1,589.81

Dental and Vision Benefit Monthly Rates

Effective: June 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018

Plan Self Self + 1 Family

 Delta Dental Premier

 $142.23 $142.23 $142.23
 Delta Dental PPO (Retiree Only) $43.27  $82.65  $137.16
 DeltaCare USA (Retiree Only) $30.88 $52.50 $77.68

 Vision Service Plan

 $16.95 $16.95 $16.95

Employee Assistance Program Benefit Monthly Rate

Effective: June 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018

ValueOptions EAP $2.27

When is COBRA Coverage Available?

The Plan will offer COBRA continuation coverage to qualified beneficiaries only after the Plan Administrator has been notified that a qualifying event has occurred. The County must notify the Plan Administrator of the following qualifying events:

  • The end of employment or reduction of hours of employment;
  • Death of the employee;
  • Commencement of a proceeding in bankruptcy with respect to the employer; or
  • The employee’s becoming entitled to Medicare benefits (under Part A, Part B, or both).

For all other qualifying events (divorce or legal separation of the employee and spouse or a dependent child’s losing eligibility for coverage as a dependent child), you must notify the Human Resources Benefits Unit within 60 days after the qualifying event occurs.

Keep Your Plan Informed of Address Changes

In order to protect your family’s rights, you should keep the Plan Administrator informed of any changes in the addresses of family members. You should also keep a copy, for your records, of any notices you send to the Human Resources Benefits Unit or Plan Administrator.

How is COBRA Continuation Coverage Provided?

Once the Plan Administrator receives notice that a qualifying event has occurred, COBRA continuation coverage will be offered to each of the qualified beneficiaries. Each qualified beneficiary will have an independent right to elect COBRA continuation coverage. Covered employees may elect COBRA continuation coverage on behalf of their spouses, and parents may elect COBRA continuation coverage on behalf of their children.

COBRA continuation coverage is a temporary continuation of coverage. When the qualifying event is the death of the employee, the employee’s becoming entitled to Medicare benefits (under Part A, Part B, or both), your divorce or legal separation, or a dependent child losing eligibility as a dependent child, COBRA continuation coverage lasts for up to a total of 36 months. When the qualifying event is the end of employment or reduction of the employee’s hours of employment, and the employee became entitled to Medicare benefits less than 18 months before the qualifying event, COBRA continuation coverage for qualified beneficiaries other than the employee lasts until 36 months after the date of Medicare entitlement.

For example, if a covered employee becomes entitled to Medicare 8 months before the date on which his employment terminates, COBRA continuation coverage for his spouse and children can last up to 36 months after the date of Medicare entitlement, which is equal to 28 months after the date of the qualifying event (36 months minus 8 months). Otherwise, when the qualifying event is the end of employment or reduction of the employee’s hours of employment, COBRA continuation coverage generally lasts for only up to a total of 18 months.

Two Ways to Extend 18-month COBRA Continuation Coverage

Disability Extension

If you or anyone in your family covered under the Plan is determined by the Social Security Administration to be disabled and you notify the Plan Administrator in a timely fashion, you and your entire family may be entitled to receive up to an additional 11 months of COBRA continuation coverage, for a total maximum of 29 months. The disability would have to have started at some time before the 60th day of COBRA continuation coverage and must last at least until the end of the 18-month period of continuation coverage.

Second Qualifying Event Extension

If your family experiences another qualifying event during the 18 months of COBRA continuation coverage, the spouse and dependent children in your family can get up to 18 additional months of COBRA continuation coverage, for a maximum of 36 months, if the Plan is properly notified about the second qualifying event.  This extension may be available to the spouse and any dependent children getting COBRA continuation coverage if the employee or former employee dies; becomes entitled to Medicare benefits (under Part A, Part B, or both); gets divorced or legally separated; or if the dependent child stops being eligible under the Plan as a dependent child.  This extension is only available if the second qualifying event would have caused the spouse or dependent child to lose coverage under the Plan had the first qualifying event not occurred.

Are there other coverage options besides COBRA Continuation Coverage?

Yes.  Instead of enrolling in COBRA continuation coverage, there may be other coverage options for you and your family through the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, or other group health plan coverage options (such as a spouse’s plan) through what is called a “special enrollment period.”   Some of these options may cost less than COBRA continuation coverage.   You can learn more about many of these options at www.healthcare.gov.

If You Have Questions

Questions concerning your Plan or your COBRA continuation coverage rights should be addressed to the contact identified above. For more information about your rights under ERISA, including COBRA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and other laws affecting group health plans, contact the nearest Regional or District Office of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) in your area or visit the EBSA website. (Addresses and phone numbers of Regional and District EBSA Offices are available through EBSA’s website.) For more information about the Marketplace, visit www.HealthCare.gov.

Contact Information

Benefits Unit

Human Resources Department

Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Contact us by Phone
Address
575 Administration Drive
Room 116 B
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.465237, -122.725363

Healthy Habits

Learn More

Healthy Habits Thumbnail

Find classes, events, tips, tools, and myriad resources to help you maintain your well-being.

Labor Negotiations

Labor Agreements & Salary Resolution
Find negotiation updates, MOUs and salary resolution information, and bargaining unit contacts.

Long Term Disability

Long Term Disability Benefit Program
County of Sonoma currently provides two (2) separate insured Long Term Disability Benefit (LTD) plans.

 

Some content on this page is saved in alternate format. To view these files, download the following software.

Windows Media Player   Windows Media® Player for Windows, Flip4MAC for MAC OSX
Compressed ZIP Archive   WinZip® for downloading compressed files
Return to top of page
Return to top of page