What happens to COBRA under health care reform now that everyone can get coverage on the exchanges?
Minneapolis attorney Monica Kelley, specialist in advising employers on employee benefits packages, discusses the fate of COBRA.
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You might think that COBRAs going away because now we don’t really need it anymore do we, we can always go out to the exchange and get coverage. But the Affordable Care Act does not repeal COBRA and so COBRA is still alive and kicking and an employer still has plenty of COBRA obligations. An employee still has the choice of taking COBRA coverage or going to the exchange and getting coverage when the employee loses employment or for some reason loses coverage under the group health plan. So on the employer side the important thing to keep track of is when there’s been an event that causes and employee to lose coverage when the coverage is lost to make sure they’re still providing notices and doing everything that they’ve done before under COBRA.
From the employee side the important thing to keep in mind is you have a choice, when you lose your coverage you can either take the COBRA coverage or you may be able to go to eh exchange and you may be able to get better coverage or cheaper coverage on the exchange. The thing is once you take COBRA, you don’t get the choice to go to the exchange until another open enrollment period comes, so that’s another consideration for employees to take into account.