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COBRA: Continuation of Benefits

Find out how you can continue your medical, dental, vision, Employee Assistance Program insurance, and/ or your Health Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

COBRA enables you or enrolled family members to continue medical, dental and/ or vision coverage in the event of a qualifying event that causes a loss of coverage. WageWorks (formerly CONEXIS) is the COBRA administrator for UC's programs (877) 422-2767.

Qualifying events

Examples of qualifying events include:

  • Termination of employment (except for gross misconduct)
  • Reduction in employment
  • Divorce, legal separation, annulment, or termination of domestic partnership
  • Death of employee
  • Loss of dependent child status

Length of continuation

The length of continuation varies, depending on the qualifying event.

  • 18-month period for:
    • Voluntary or involuntary termination of employment (except for gross misconduct)
    • Reduction in hours (includes leave without pay or layoff)
  • 36-month period for:
    • Divorce, legal separation, annulment, or termination of domestic partnership
    • Death of the employee
    • Loss of dependent child status

Note: Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the additional 18 months of coverage under CalCOBRA will no longer be offered to employees enrolled in CORE or the UC Care medical plans.

COBRA also applies to the Health Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for plan participants on leave without pay or leaving UC employment. After separation of employment, WageWorks sends a "Qualifying Event Notice" explaining the procedure for continuing. If you are on leave without pay, COBRA is also an option, however the process is different.  For more information on COBRA, see UCnet.

COBRA premiums change annually. Current COBRA premiums can be found on UCnet. Premiums are billed monthly.

Notification of eligibility

Notification of COBRA eligibility depends on the qualifying event:

  • Separation: After the department enters a separation date in the payroll system, WageWorks will mail a COBRA packet to the address of record.
  • Divorce, legal separation, or termination of domestic partnership: As the employee, you need to take action to de-enroll family members. The UPAY 850 form (PDF) will de-enroll a dependent who is no longer eligible. The Notice to UC of a COBRA Qualifying Event (UBEN 109) (PDF) will request the COBRA packet. Mail both forms to Benefits at Mail Code 0926. WageWorks will be notified to send the COBRA information.
  • Over-age dependent: Children turning 26 will be automatically de-enrolled in medical, dental and/or vision at the end of the month. If you would like to receive COBRA info, complete the Notice to UC of a COBRA Qualifying Event (UBEN 109, PDF) and send it to Benefits at Mail Code 0926. A COBRA packet will be sent from WageWorks. (To de-enroll the child from dependent life insurance, AD&D and/or legal, complete the UPAY 850 form (PDF) and submit to Payroll at Mail Code 0952.)
  • Change in Benefits Level Indicator Code (BELI): If your eligibility for benefits changes and you lose coverage, call (858) 534-2816.

Enrollment

To enroll in medical, dental, and/ or vision via COBRA, complete the enrollment application in your COBRA packet. The packet includes monthly premium information. Each plan continuation can be independent of the others. For example, you can enroll only in medical if needed. Enrollment options include mail, calling WageWorks at (877) 722-2667 or online. Be sure to keep a copy of the enrollment for your records. The Benefits Office does not receive information from WageWorks.

Notice: The information on this page summarizes provisions of university policies and/or collective bargaining agreements. Refer to the Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM) and local implementing procedures or applicable collective bargaining agreement for full text of referenced information.