COBRA Initial Notification
Maricopa County Group Health Insurance Program (the Plan) is sponsored by Maricopa County.
The Plan Administrator is Maricopa County Employee Benefits Division, located at 301 West Jefferson Street, Suite 3200, Phoenix, AZ 85003, and available via telephone by dialing 602-506-1010 to speak to a Representative or by emailing BenefitsService@mail.maricopa.gov. The Plan Administrator is responsible for administering COBRA continuation coverage.
This notice has important information about your right to COBRA continuation coverage, which is a temporary extension of coverage under the Plan. This notice explains COBRA continuation coverage, when it may become available to you and your family, and what you need to do to protect the right to get it. When you become eligible for COBRA, you may also become eligible for other coverage options that my cost less than COBRA continuation coverage.
The right to COBRA continuation coverage was created by a federal law, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA). COBRA continuation coverage can become available to you and other members of your family when you would otherwise lose your group health coverage would otherwise end. For more information about your rights and obligations under the Plan and under federal law, you should review the Plan’s Summary Plan Description or contact the Plan Administrator.
You may have other options available to you when you lose group health coverage. For example, you may be eligible to buy an individual plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. By enrolling in coverage through the Marketplace, you may qualify for lower costs on your monthly premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs. Additionally, you may qualify for a 30-day special enrollment period for another group health plan for which you are eligible (such as a spouse’s plan) even if that plan generally doesn’t accept late enrollees.
What is COBRA Continuation Coverage?
COBRA continuation coverage is a continuation of Plan coverage when it would otherwise end because of a life event. This is also called a “qualifying event.” Specific qualifying events are listed later in this notice. After a qualifying event, COBRA continuation coverage must be offered to each person who is a “qualified beneficiary.” You, your spouse, and your dependent children could become qualified beneficiaries if coverage under the Plan is lost because of the qualifying event. Under the Plan, qualified beneficiaries who elect COBRA continuation coverage may be required to pay for COBRA continuation coverage.
If you’re an employee, you’ll become a qualified beneficiary if you will lose your coverage under the Plan because of the following qualifying events:
1. Your hours of employment are reduced, or
2. Your employment ends for any reason other than your gross misconduct.
If you’re the spouse of an employee, you’ll become a qualified beneficiary if you lose your coverage under the Plan because of the following qualifying events:
1. Your spouse dies;
2. Your spouse’s hours of employment are reduced;
3. Your spouse’s employment ends for any reason other than his or her gross misconduct;
4. Your spouse becomes entitled to Medicare benefits (under Part A, Part B, or both); or
5. You become divorced or legally separated from your spouse.
Your dependent children will become qualified beneficiaries if they lose coverage under the Plan because of the following qualifying events:
1. The parent-employee dies;
2. The parent-employee’s hours of employment are reduced;
3. The parent-employee’s employment ends for any reason other than his or her gross misconduct;
4. The parent-employee becomes entitled to Medicare benefits (Part A, Part B, or both);
5. The parents become divorced or legally separated; or
6. The child stops being eligible for coverage under the plan as a “dependent child.”
Additional information related to retiree health coverage (if applicable)
If the Plan provides retiree health coverage, please review the following:
Sometimes, filing a proceeding in bankruptcy under title 11 of the United States Code can be a qualifying event. If a proceeding in bankruptcy is filed with respect to Maricopa County, and that bankruptcy results in the loss of coverage of any retired employee covered under the Plan, the retired employee is a qualified beneficiary. The retired employee’s spouse, surviving spouse, and dependent children will also be qualified beneficiaries if bankruptcy results in the loss of their coverage under the Plan.
When is COBRA Continuation Coverage Available?
The Plan will offer COBRA continuation coverage to qualified beneficiaries only after ADP Benefit Services has been notified that a qualifying event has occurred. Maricopa County must notify ADP Benefit Services of the following qualifying events:
- The end of employment or reduction of hours of employment;
- Death of the employee;
- Commencement of a proceeding in bankruptcy with respect to the employer, or
- The employee’s becoming entitled to Medicare benefits (under Part A, Part B, or both).
For the other qualifying events (divorce or legal separation of the employee and spouse or a dependent child’s losing eligibility for coverage as a dependent child), generally you must notify the Plan Administrator within 60 days after the qualifying event occurs. However, your Plan may allow a longer period of time to provide notification. Please consult your Plan’s SPD to determine the Plan’s qualifying event notification requirements. You must send this notice to: Maricopa County Employee Benefits Division and as directed under the terms of the Plan located in the SPD.
How is COBRA Continuation Coverage Provided?
Once ADP Benefits Services receives notice that a qualifying event has occurred, COBRA continuation coverage will be offered to each of the qualified beneficiaries. Each qualified beneficiary will have an independent right to elect COBRA continuation coverage. Covered employees may elect COBRA continuation coverage on behalf of their spouses, and parents may elect COBRA continuation coverage on behalf of their children.
COBRA continuation coverage is a temporary continuation of coverage that generally lasts for 18 months due to employment termination or reduction of hours of work. Certain qualifying events, or a second qualifying event during the initial period of coverage, may permit a beneficiary to receive a maximum of 36 months of coverage.
There are also ways in which this 18-month period of COBRA continuation coverage can be extended:
Disability extension of 18-month period of continuation coverage
If you or anyone in your family covered under the Plan is determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to be disabled and you notify the Plan Administrator in a timely fashion, you and your entire family may be entitled to receive up to an additional 11 months of COBRA continuation coverage, for a total maximum of 29 months. The disability would have to start at some time before the 60th day of COBRA continuation coverage and must last at least until the end of the 18-month period of COBRA continuation coverage.
This notice should be sent to: Maricopa County Employee Benefits or other party as indicated in the COBRA Election Notice you receive at the time you are offered COBRA continuation coverage.*
Second qualifying event extension of 18-month period of continuation coverage
If your family experiences another qualifying event during the 18 months of COBRA continuation coverage, the spouse and dependent children in your family can get up to 18 additional months of COBRA continuation coverage, for a maximum of 36 months, if the Plan is properly notified about the second qualifying event. This extension may be available to the spouse and dependent children if the employee or former employee dies; becomes entitled to Medicare benefits (under Part A, Part B, or both); gets divorced or legally separated; or if the dependent child stops being eligible under the Plan as a dependent child. This extension is only available if the second qualifying event would have caused the spouse or dependent child to lose coverage under the Plan had the first qualifying event not occurred.*
*Please note: At the time you are being provided with this Initial General Notice of COBRA Rights, ADP Benefit Services is Maricopa County’s COBRA administrator. In the future, you should refer to the COBRA Election Notice you receive at the time you are offered COBRA continuation coverage to confirm that ADP Benefits Services still performs this function for Maricopa County and that ADP Benefits Services remains the appropriate place for you to send notice of a Social Security Disability or Second Qualifying event.
Are there other coverage options besides COBRA continuation coverage?
Yes. Instead of enrolling in COBRA continuation coverage, there may be other coverage options for you and your family through the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, or other group health plan coverage options (such as a spouse’s plan) through what is called a “special enrollment period.” Some of these options may cost less than COBRA continuation coverage. You can learn more about many of these options at www.HealthCare.gov
If You Have Questions
Questions concerning your Plan or your COBRA continuation coverage rights should be addressed to the contact or contacts identified below. For more information about your rights under Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), including COBRA, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and other laws affecting group health plans, contact the nearest Regional or District Office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) in your area or visit www.dol.gov/ebsa. (Addresses and phone numbers of Regional and District EBSA Offices are available through EBSA's website.) For more information about the Marketplace, visit www.HealthCare.gov.
Keep Your Plan Informed of Address Changes
To protect your family’s rights, let the Plan Administrator know about any changes in the addresses of family members. You should also keep a copy, for your records, of any notices you send to the Plan Administrator.
Plan Contact Information
Maricopa County Employee Benefits Division
301 West Jefferson Street, Suite 3200
Phoenix, Arizona 85003-2145
Telephone number 602-506-1010
Fax number: 602-506-2354
COBRA continuation coverage for the Plan is managed by:
Telephone number 1-855-219-5022