Q. Did the new health care law eliminate COBRA and, if so, when does this take effect? S.R.J., Minneapolis
A. The Affordable Care Act does not repeal the long-standing law known as COBRA (short for “Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act”). Under COBRA, an employer with 20 or more employees must offer to continue health insurance coverage for a departing employee for up to 18 months. The maximum continuation period is extended to 29 months for an employee who suffers a disability; 36 months for a spouse or dependent facing loss of coverage due to death, divorce or legal separation.
Tip: If an employee elects continued coverage, he or she generally has to pay the full cost of the premiums plus a 2% administrative fee.