Welfare Notes - March 2010

March, 2010


The federal COBRA Law entitles employees to extend their health care coverage by making self payments after their coverage is terminated due to a reduction in working hours or end of employment. The maximum length of time (in most cases 18 months) for COBRA and the price is set by the law.

The extension of coverage is also available to ex-spouses, over age dependents, and dependents of deceased employees. If a member is not enrolled in a Plan at the time of termination of eligibility, COBRA is not available to that member or dependents.

Currently there is an ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) reduction in the amount of the COBRA premium payment for employees who lose coverage due to involuntary termination or a reduction in working hours. The ARRA reduction is scheduled to terminate May 2010, but may again be extended by Congress and the President.

In cases of coverage loss for overage dependents and retired members or spouses of retired members, it is recommended that you explore all options available to you since school plans or individual plans may be less costly and sufficient for your purposes. People who are eligible for Medicare are not eligible for COBRA.

California COBRA is for employees with health care coverage through employers who have less than 20 employees. As employees of a multi-employer group with over 20 employees, SUP Members are not eligible for California COBRA.

The SUP Welfare Plan sends COBRA notices to members when it becomes known to the Plan that eligibility for coverage has terminated. If you believe your coverage may have terminated and you have not received a notice or if at any time you have questions about your eligibility or enrollment, please contact the Plan office.

Remember you can contact the Plan office by e-mail when on ship. Please do not use more than the last four numbers of your social security number when contacting our office by e-mail. Also keep the Plan office updated on your current mailing address.

Michelle Chang, Administrator  
Patty Martin  
Virginia Briggs, Claims   
Michael Jacyna, Eligibility