Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
You and your covered dependents are eligible for COBRA if you’re currently enrolled in health care coverage with K-C. COBRA gives you the option to temporarily continue your current K-C health care coverage (e.g., medical, dental, vision, FSA) for up to 18 months. There are ways in which the 18-month period of COBRA can be extended. Refer to the sample COBRA Enrollment Notice for more information.
As you review the information below, keep the following in mind:
- Requires current coverage: You must be enrolled in health coverage with K-C on your last day of employment to be eligible for COBRA. If you're not eligible, you won't receive a COBRA Enrollment Notice from WageWorks.
- No gap in coverage: Your COBRA coverage will be effective immediately following the day your active coverage ends, as long as you elect COBRA by the deadline listed in the notice you'll receive from WageWorks.
- Elect Medicare first: If you're age 65+ or otherwise eligible for Medicare and plan to elect COBRA, be sure to enroll in Medicare first. Since COBRA is secondary to Medicare, you must complete these steps in the correct order and by the respective deadlines, or your COBRA coverage will be terminated and you could face a penalty or waiting period with Medicare. Visit the Medicare page for more information.
- Premium Cost: If you elect COBRA coverage, you’ll pay the full cost of the monthly premiums plus a 2% administrative fee. Call Empyrean if you have questions about cost details.1
- Mailed Notice: You’ll receive a COBRA Enrollment Notice in the mail from WageWorks within 14 days after the Empyrean Service Center receives notice of your last day of employment.
- Medicare: If you’re age 65 or older and plan to elect COBRA, be sure to enroll in Medicare first. You must complete these steps in the correct order and by the respective deadlines, or your COBRA coverage will be terminated and you could face a penalty with Medicare. You can have COBRA as well as Medicare if your Medicare benefits (Part A or Part B) become effective before you elect COBRA coverage. If you sign up for COBRA first, your COBRA benefits cease if you become entitled to Medicare. Visit medicare.gov or call Medicare at 800-633-4227 to learn more about the related steps and deadlines.
- Enrollment Deadline: You must contact WageWorks and enroll by the deadline listed in your mailed notice. When you enroll, you can set up direct debit (automatic bank account withdrawals) to pay premiums.
- Effective Date: You can’t elect COBRA until your last day of employment has been received and processed by Empyrean. Your COBRA coverage will be effective immediately following the day your active coverage ends, as long as you elect COBRA by the deadline listed in the notice from WageWorks. For example, if your current coverage ends May 31, your COBRA coverage will be effective June 1 so there will be no gap in coverage.
- Paying for Coverage: Once you receive your first bill from WageWorks, you can pay by check, money order, or sign up for direct debit. If eligible, you may also use your Health Savings Account (HSA) to pay for coverage.
- Annual Enrollment: You'll have the opportunity to make changes to your COBRA coverage during Annual Enrollment, which takes place each fall.2
1If you leave K-C under a signed separation agreement, the first six months of your COBRA medical coverage (if eligible) are paid in full by K-C.
2If your COBRA eligibility period starts within the annual enrollment period, you’ll receive two COBRA Enrollment Notices following your last day of employment. The first notice will contain information about continuing your current K-C health care coverage. Once your initial COBRA enrollment is completed, you’ll receive a second notice for annual enrollment that gives you the opportunity to make changes to your COBRA coverage for the following year (e.g., elect a different medical plan option).