Decoding COBRA Compliance, Coverage & Risk Mitigation - Mission to Grow: A Small Business Guide to Cash, Compliance, and the War for Talent - Episode # 101

While COBRA has fairly straight forward effects, the qualifications and details are quite nuanced. Joining the show to help small business owners stay compliant with COBRA is Operations Manager, Benefits at Asure, Heather James!

Heather joins Mike Vannoy to dive into the history and regulations of COBRA. Heather explains the different qualifying events, the regulations for notifying an employee, and who COBRA applies to. 

  • While many people think COBRA is insurance, in reality it is a law that requires employees still have access to group plans when they go through a qualifying event like leaving the company. 
  • COBRA requires that the employee must pay for the remaining benefits in full. The employee must pay both their previous contribution, and the previous employer's contribution. In some cases there is also a 2% administration fee. 
  • The DOL has strict regulations about notifying an employee about their COBRA eligibility, even down to font size and bolding. When notifying an employee, make sure you comply with the rules and regulations. 
  • As an employee, when you receive your packet from your employer, you have 60 days to make a decision as to your course of action. COBRA doesn’t kick in until your decision, but is applied retroactively to the date you lost your active policy. 
  • While many people think COBRA only applies to terminations, there are a few other qualifying events. Moving from full time to part time qualifies you as you are losing access to your healthcare benefits despite still working at the company. 
  • COBRA applies beyond just the employee and to their dependents. A divorced spouse or a dependent who turns 26 and ages out of coverage are both types of qualifying events for COBRA.
  • A common mistake employers make is not notifying their employees properly and through the correct channels. Every qualifying event needs to be notified for, and all notifications must happen through the US mail. 

Quote of the Show:
  • “COBRA is not the actual insurance, COBRA is the continuation of those rich group plans that you had.” - Heather James


Ways to Tune In:

Creators and Guests

Mike Vannoy
Mike Vannoy
Mike is a digital-first marketing executive with 25 years dedicated to helping HR companies thrive. As a board member of an AI software company and Chief Marketing Officer at Asure, he's been at the forefront of AI, HR compliance trends, and the changing demographics that shape today's marketplace. Under his leadership at Sales Engine Media, the company predominantly focused on the payroll, HR, and benefits industries, earning multiple spots on the Inc5000 list. Actively involved in multiple small businesses, Mike is a lifelong entrepreneur adept at navigating the changing workforce dynamics. He has held multiple executive roles at industry-leading HR firms, showcasing his expertise and leadership in the sector.
Decoding COBRA Compliance, Coverage & Risk Mitigation - Mission to Grow: A Small Business Guide to Cash, Compliance, and the War for Talent - Episode # 101
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