If your company offers health insurance and has about 20 workers, look into IRS rules published this year.
The federal COBRA law requires companies with 20 or more workers that provide health insurance to continue offering coverage to former workers for a specified number of months.
New IRS regulations clarify how a company should count employees to see if it meets that 20-employee threshold. The rules say that a part-time worker should be counted as a fraction of a full-timer, based on the number of hours worked.
In addition, the rules clarify that your independent contractors are not counted at all toward that total.
A key point: Several states have adopted lower thresholds to rope in even smaller businesses. Some states require companies with as few as two workers to offer COBRA-like coverage.
For details on the federal rules, visit www.ebia.com/weekly/articles/COBRA010111FinalRegs.html.
For details on COBRA insurance ...
Get our one-page fact sheet, Employer Obligations Under COBRA, by calling (800) 543-2055 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and putting COBRA in the subject line.
Another option: The federal government offers a free 24-page book, Health Benefits Under COBRA. Call the Labor Department at (800) 998-7542 or download it at www.dol.gov/dol/pwba/public/ pubs/main.htm.