What Is COBRA?
The U.S. Department of Labor helped to pass the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (or COBRA), giving workers and their family a chance to continue health insurance coverage after they lose theirs – be it a voluntary or involuntary loss of employment, a decrease in worked hours, job transition, divorce, death or other significant life events. Those who qualify for COBRA will pay the whole premium for coverage up to 102% of the plan’s cost.
COBRA typically entails employers of 20 or more employees offer group health plans extend this temporary extension of health coverage (known as continuation coverage) where plan coverage would typically end. COBRA details how the employee and their family can continue the coverage, requiring that employers also give notice to their employees.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is another amendment to the ERISA, which offers working Americans and their dependents protection against health coverage discrimination because of a person’s health.
Other important amendments include:
- Mental Health Parity Act
- Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act
- Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act
- Affordable Care Act
- Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act
The Employee Benefits Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor must ensure that the ERISA is appropriately managed and enforced.
Part of its duties include giving consumers information about the different health plans, helping to ensure employers, plan service providers and other entities are compliant. Due to the extreme technical nature of the material, it’s advised that entities look to other information sources to understand how to stay in compliance.