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COBRA Administration

Failing to administer COBRA properly can be financially devastating. We can help. 
COBRA Administration Is More Important Than Ever

COBRA has been a federal law for more than 30 years, but it remains a challenge for many employers. While the basic rules may seem simple, it's a complex law that's hard to manage.

Because COBRA has been a law for so long, it has become an afterthought for a lot of employers. But a new wave of lawsuits has put COBRA front and center again. Lawsuits coupled with fines and penalties means mismanaging COBRA can be very costly.

With so much at risk, you should consider outsourcing your COBRA program.

The Benefits of Outsourcing

There are a lot of reasons why you should outsource COBRA administration. Here's our top three:

Reduce Your Workload

Administering COBRA requires serious resources. There's so much to learn and then you have to stay up to date. Not to mention the administrative processes:

  • Preparing and mailing notices
  • Identifying qualifying events when they happen
  • Figuring out who is eligible for COBRA
  • Tracking election periods
  • Processing COBRA elections and payments
  • Tracking payment grace periods
  • Handling "insignificant underpayments"
  • Updating eligibility with your carriers
  • Tracking coverage periods
  • Tracking the age of covered dependents
  • Processing second qualifying events
  • Handling "early" terminations
  • Answering participant questions
  • Responding to complaints and appeal requests

Reduce Your Risk

Complying with COBRA is challenging. And the burden of compliance rests with the employer. With potential lawsuits and fines for mistakes, there's a lot at stake.

Reduce Your Costs

If time is money, managing COBRA is very expensive. There's so much to do, and it's often left to someone who is already stretched thin. Spending time managing COBRA means other tasks get set aside. That loss in productivity juts adds to the cost. There’s also the hidden cost of COBRA to worry about.

We've designed our COBRA administration services to do all three. Once you notify us of COBRA-related events, we do the rest. We then send you the info you need to update your records and track your program.

COBRA Administration

SERVICE FEATURES

Private and secure account access for everyone using the web browser on your phone, tablet, or computer.
Employers can send us data files or use our web portal to let us know about new hires and qualifying events.
100% U.S. based.
Designated client managers for all clients.
Live participant support available from 8 am to 7 pm Central, Monday through Friday.
Distribution of all required COBRA notices.
Courtesy monthly payment reminder notices. These notices include any past due or remaining amounts from previous months.
We collect participant premiums and send them to the employer monthly. We can send the premiums to carriers and health plans as an optional service.
Eligibility updates and reports to employers and health plans.
Extensive open enrollment support options.

WHAT SETS US APART

Modern Systems and Processes. We don’t use someone else’s software or old legacy systems. We built our system from the ground up to make sure we can handle anything our clients throw at us.
Easy File Transfers. We're committed to making the file transfer process as pain free as possible. That means your IT team doesn't have to program to our specs. We'll even accept multiple files from different systems.
Flexible and Agile. We built flexibility into everything we do. That allows us to tailor our system to meet your business rules. And we can quickly customize communications to include special content and your company's logo.
Configurable Payment Allocations. We can split up premium payments and send them to multiple parties. This is great for self-funded plans or anyone who needs to split up payments.
Subsidy and Severance. We offer the most advanced subsidy and severance capabilities available. We can handle even the most complicated business needs. In fact, one of our clients has more than 2,500 subsidy rules.

No One Makes COBRA Easier

The Hidden Cost of COBRA

Most employers know that it takes a lot of time and effort to manage COBRA. And many employers know there's huge financial risk if they make mistakes. But few employers realize there's a very real hidden cost to COBRA.

So, what's the hidden cost?

Studies have shown that coverage for COBRA participants costs more than active employees. That's because they tend to have more claims, at a higher cost, than active employees.

Failure to manage COBRA processes and deadlines can result in extra participants. For example, failing to apply payment deadlines means people stay on COBRA longer than they should. When people stay on COBRA longer, they have more claims.

These extra claims can result in higher premiums at renewal. And higher premiums mean everyone pays more for coverage.

Choosing UnifyHR for COBRA administration can help reduce this hidden cost. That's because we protect your plan from covering people when they're not eligible.

COBRA and FSA

Many FSA and HSA vendors offer COBRA administration. But they offer it as a secondary service. Why do they do it? They do it because the market makes them think they must. But it's not their profit center and it's not where they focus. And because it's not their focus, the experience for employers and participants is often lacking.

How does the market drive this behavior? Employers suffer from something known as "vendor fatigue." It's what happens when they have to manage too many vendors. To combat this, employers do their best to combine services with a single vendor.

But how do employers decide which vendors to combine? For some reason, it became common for employers to insist on a single vendor for FSA and COBRA. There is no natural overlap between the two. They are very different services that need two different sets of data. But still, employers insist.

Employers who choose a single vendor to provide both are often surprised to find things are still separate. Two separate implementation processes and teams. Two different file feeds. Two different account management teams. Sometimes the invoice is the only combined item, but even that's not always the case.

COBRA is a core offering for UnifyHR. We know what it takes to create a great experience for employers and participants. And we do it every day.

Call us biased, but we think employers should always choose the best vendor for each service. It's a foolproof way to ensure the best possible experience for both the employer and their participants.

Client Success Stories

COMPLEXITY

A large, multi-national manufacturing company grew frustrated with their COBRA program. Their chosen vendor struggled to manage the employer’s complex subsidy program.

The program contains stacked rules, based on location, years of service, plan enrollment, and other factors. Due to the complexity, the employer had to manage everything by spreadsheet themselves.

After reviewing other options, they switched to UnifyHR. They chose us because of our advanced severance and subsidy capabilities.

Within a few weeks we built a matrix that captured the multiple layers of the employer’s subsidy rules. There's more than 2,500 in all. Their entire program is now automated and running smoothly.

FLEXIBILITY

A nationwide provider of health care services offers an “extended medical” program to retirees. The program is offered alongside COBRA, and subsidies are available based on years of service.

Because we handle ACA and COBRA for this employer, we’re able to automate the entire process, including the subsidy calculations. It also allows us to handle the employer’s reduction in hours program. Under the program, some employees can keep their medical coverage after the reduction while continuing their dental and vision coverage through COBRA.

And our flexible data policies make it easy for the employer. They use existing exports from multiple systems to send us their data. We handle everything, and their IT team doesn’t have to program to our specs.

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