Overview: Group health plans sponsored by employers with 20 or more employees are required to comply with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). In general, COBRA provides continuation of health care coverage for employees and their beneficiaries who would otherwise lose coverage due to certain qualifying events.
Group health plans are required to provide workers and their families with a notice of their COBRA rights and are also required to have procedures in place for how COBRA coverage is offered, how coverage can be elected and how coverage can be terminated. Even though COBRA has been around for over 25 years, its confusing and complex requirements still result in frequent errors.
Some of the more common errors include:
Trends: Despite certain rumors, COBRA was not eliminated as a result of health care reform. Partnering with a COBRA administrator can help employers be secure in the knowledge that their organization is in compliance.
Tracy Morley, SPHR, Legal Editor
Employee benefits, such as health insurance, sick pay, disability pay, workers' compensation insurance and retirement savings plans, may be subject to withholding for federal income taxes (FIT), Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes or federal unemployment (FUTA) taxes. This section assists HR professionals in understanding how each particular type of benefit plan must be structured and how to properly tax and report contributions, reimbursements and distributions in order to ensure compliance with the Internal Revenue Code.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Rhode Island employment law requirements HR must follow with respect health care continuation (COBRA).
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An employer may use this policy to convey the purpose for and importance of conducting exit interviews with employees departing the organization. Given that employers may collect valuable, candid information regarding employment practices from outgoing employees and may also identify post-termination risks such as lawsuits, employers are strongly encouraged to conduct exit interviews with all willing, outgoing employees. This policy can be used to put current employees on notice of the employer's intention to conduct such interviews and what the employer intends to do with the information it gathers.
Employers need to do everything they can to minimize claims by employees and the government. This section assists HR professionals in implementing proper policies and procedures, and understanding where the greatest risks lay and what the federal government's major enforcement initiatives are.
The Supreme Court will address same-sex marriage for the first time in adding a pair of closely-watched cases from California and New York to its schedule. The New York case involves the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The California case addresses the legality of gay marriage.
An employer may use this notice to ensure that they have provided covered employees and their dependents with specific notices explaining their rights under COBRA. Employers who fail to provide notice expose themselves to liability and penalties.
HR Guidance on complying with COBRA laws and regulations.
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