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IMPORTANT UPDATE REGARDING COBRA CONTINUATION COVERAGE

 

This website will be updated with the latest information on the temporary COBRA extension. Please note that the U.S. Department of Labor and IRS may make additional changes to the COBRA rules.

On April 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor and IRS announced a temporary extension of certain deadlines for sending notifications, electing, and paying for COBRA continuation coverage during the COVID-19 outbreak. Under this temporary extension, you have extra time to send certain notifications about COBRA coverage, to elect COBRA coverage, and to make premium payments.

This temporary extension was effective as of March 1, 2020 and pauses individual deadlines until 60 days after the COVID-19 National Emergency has been declared over or until 12 months have passed, whichever occurs first.

 

OCTOBER 2021 UPDATE:

On October 6, 2021, the IRS released additional guidance clarifying that the temporary extension to elect COBRA continuation coverage and to make initial COBRA premium payment generally run concurrently. Applying the extension periods in this way means that the participants who delay electing COBRA may not have more than one year of total disregarded time for the COBRA election and initial COBRA payment. Please see additional updates included below and in the FAQ section for more information on how this update may impact your deadlines.

What this means
This means that if the timeline for your original deadline began prior to March 1, 2020, your timeline restarts on March 1, 2021 and the number of days remaining in your timeline does not include the days that passed between March 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021. If the timeline for your original deadline would have begun on or after March 1, 2020, your timeline begins on the one-year anniversary of your original deadline.

If you delayed enrolling in or making premium payment(s) for your COBRA continuation coverage, you must enroll and/or pay all missed premium payments by the end of the applicable deadline or coverage will terminate back to the original effective date or month for which you made payment. Please see the end of this page for where to find information on your applicable deadlines and premiums.

If you do not want COBRA coverage or your COBRA payments are up-to-date, no action is required of you.

The following standard federal COBRA timelines are subject to the extension:

Election Period
Qualified beneficiaries have 60 days from the date of the Specific Rights Notice (SRN) to elect COBRA.

Monthly and Initial Payment Grace Periods
COBRA participants have a 30-day grace period to pay monthly COBRA premiums in order to maintain coverage, and a 45-day grace period to make an initial payment upon first electing COBRA coverage.

 

OCTOBER 2021 UPDATE:

A qualified beneficiary who elects COBRA continuation coverage within a regular 60-day deadline will have until 60 days after the COVID-19 National Emergency has been declared over or until one year and 45 days from the date of the election, whichever is earlier, to make the initial payment.

A qualified beneficiary who has delayed making an election and elects COBRA continuation coverage after the regular 60-day deadline, will have until 60 days after the COVID-19 National Emergency has been declared over or until one year and 105 days from the date COBRA Special Rights Notice was provided, whichever is earlier, to make the initial payment. In no event will an initial COBRA payment be due before November 1, 2021, as long as the individual makes the initial COBRA premium payment within 60 days after the COVID-19 National Emergency has been declared over or within one year and 45 days from the date he/she made the COBRA election, whichever is earlier (“Transition Relief.”)

Second Qualifying Event and Disability Notifications
COBRA participants have 60 days to notify Discovery Benefits, LLC of a second qualifying event that would extend the COBRA coverage period from 18 months to 36 months. COBRA participants also have 60 days to notify Discovery Benefits of receiving a Social Security Administration disability determination to extend the COBRA coverage period from 18 months to 29 months.

Download EBSA Notice

Download IRS Notice

Make a Payment or Elect
You can find information regarding your COBRA premium in your online account at https://cobra.discoverybenefits.com. If your account is not paid current, we are unable to process payments online.

Mail your check, money order, and/or election paperwork to:

Discovery Benefits
P.O. Box 2079
Omaha, NE 68103-2079

To ensure your payment is posted in a timely manner, please include with your payment the coupon(s) that were provided in your Enrollment Notice. If no coupons are available, please ensure your name and member ID, which is located under the Profile tab of your online account, is listed clearly on your check or money order.

Online payments and the Recurring Automatic Payments (ACH) option will be available once your payments are current.

Ongoing Payments
Please keep in mind that the above extensions of time do not change how COBRA coverage operates. If you pay a monthly payment later than the first day of the coverage period to which it applies, your coverage under the plan will be suspended as of the first day of the month. However, if you timely pay your monthly payment (taking into account the extended time discussed in this letter), your coverage will be retroactively reinstated going back to the first day of the applicable month. This means that any claim you submit for benefits while your coverage is suspended may be denied and may have to be resubmitted once your coverage is reinstated.

Questions on Your Account?
You can find information regarding your COBRA premium, grace period, and payment due dates in your online account at https://cobra.discoverybenefits.com. Please note that the above COBRA timeframe extensions are not reflected in the attached notices or your online account, but they do apply to you. Remember that these extensions are temporary and will not apply beginning 60 days after the COVID-19 National Emergency has been declared over or until 12 months have passed, whichever occurs first.

If you have any questions regarding your account or this notice, our Participant Services team is available by email at cobraadmin@discoverybenefits.com, or by calling 844-561-1339 during business hours (Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Central time).

For more information on the temporary extension provided by the Department of Labor and IRS, see EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01, Notice 2021-58, and Notice 2021-01.

 
 


 
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I have recurring payments set up or mail a payment each month. Do I need to take any action?
A: No. If your payments are up to date, no action is required of you.

Q: I’m not sure if my payments are up to date. Where can I check?
A: Log into your online account at https://cobra.discoverybenefits.com.

Q: I didn’t elect, but now I’d like to. What should I do?
A: We can’t process overdue elections online. Mail your election paperwork and premiums to:

Discovery Benefits
P.O. Box 2079
Omaha, NE 68103-2079

You can download a copy of your election paperwork under the Communication Activity tab of your online account.

Q: My payments are overdue. What should I do?
A: We can’t process overdue payments online. Mail your payment to:

Discovery Benefits
P.O. Box 2079
Omaha, NE 68103-2079

Include your member ID, which is located under the Profile tab of your online account. Please allow 10-14 business days for your payment to be processed.

Q: If I only had services in specific months, can I pay for coverage for just those months?
A: No. COBRA is a month-by-month benefit and gaps in coverage aren’t allowed.

Q: Where can I view a copy of this notice?
A: Click here to download a copy. If you would like a copy mailed to you free of charge, contact us at 844-561-1339 or email EBSACOBRA@discoverybenefits.com.

 

OCTOBER 2021 UPDATE:

Q: How do I know when my initial payment is due?
A: Examples below demonstrate when a participant’s initial payment is due:

Example A: Your COBRA Specific Rights Notice was provided on September 1, 2020. Your standard 60-day election window under COBRA ended on October 31, 2020. You elected COBRA continuation coverage on October 15, 2020. Because you elected coverage during the standard 60-day election period, your initial payment is due November 29, 2021, or one year and 45 days from the date of your election. If the National Emergency is declared over prior to November 29, 2021, your initial payment will be due 60 days after the National Emergency is declared over.

Example B: Your COBRA Specific Rights Notice was provided on September 1, 2020. Your standard 60-day election window under COBRA ended on October 31, 2020. You elected COBRA continuation coverage on December 20, 2020. Because you elected coverage outside of the standard 60-day election period, your initial payment is due December 15, 2021, or one year and 105 days from the date the COBRA Specific Rights Notice was provided to you. If the National Emergency is declared over prior to December 15, 2021, your initial payment will be due 60 days after the National Emergency is declared over.

Example C: Your COBRA Specific Rights Notice was provided on April 1, 2020. Your standard 60-day election window under COBRA ended on May 31, 2020. You elected COBRA continuation coverage on July 15, 2020. Because you elected coverage outside of the standard 60-day election period, your initial payment was due July 15, 2021, or one year and 105 days after the date the COBRA Specific Rights Notice was provided to you. You do not qualify for the Transition Relief because November 1, 2021 is more than one year and 45 days after July 15, 2020 election date.

Example D: Your COBRA Specific Rights Notice was provided on April 1, 2020. Your standard 60-day election window under COBRA ended on May 31, 2020. You elected COBRA continuation coverage on October 1, 2020. Because you elected coverage outside of the standard 60-day election period, your initial payment was due July 15, 2021, or one year and 105 days after the date the COBRA Specific Rights Notice was provided to you. You qualify for the Transition Relief because even though November 1, 2021 is more than one year and 105 days after the date the Special Rights Notice was provided, November 1, 2021 is less than one year and 45 days after the October 1, 2020 election date.