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Q&A: When Coverage Ends

Q: What options are available to me if I lose my 4J insurance coverage, or if my 4J out-of-pocket cost is more than I can afford?

A:  A good place to start researching your options would be to visit the State of Oregon website on healthcare.  http://healthcare.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx

Q: How do I know if I’m eligible for COBRA?

A: COBRA is offered to employees and their eligible dependents when employees or dependents lose coverage due to the following qualifying events:

  • Termination of employment (except in cases of gross misconduct)
  • Death of the employee
  • Loss of coverage due to retirement
  • Medicare entitlement of the employee
  • Reduction in the employee’s work hours
  • Divorce or legal separation
  • A child’s loss of dependent status
  • Leave of absence

Questions regarding COBRA eligibility should be directed to BenefitHelp Solutions at (800) 556-2230.

Q: How and when will I receive my COBRA information and application?

A: BenefitHelp Solutions will mail your personalized COBRA packet/application to your home within 2 weeks of notification of employment termination.  For information before you receive your packet you can visit OEBB’s site here:  http://www.oregon.gov/oha/OEBB/pages/plans-offered.aspx.  COBRA offers the same exact medical plans you are currently eligible for, the covered member is responsible for the entire premium plus a small percentage for an administrative fee.  You can find the rates in the same link under the COBRA heading.

Q: How can I check on my COBRA packet if I believe I should have received it by now?

A:  You can start by contacting BenefitHelp Solutions at (800)556-2230.  4J does not have any way of tracking their system to see if or when packets were mailed.  If they do not have record of your packet or your coverage ending please do the following:

Email 4j_benefits@4j.lane.eduwith the following information:

  • Name (first and last as it appears on your paycheck)
  • 4J employee number and/or OEBB E-number
  • correct mailing address
  • phone number if you’d like a return call (otherwise we’ll reply to the email)

Benefits staff will research the situation, make any corrections necessary and let you know when to expect your packet.

Q: Under what circumstances can someone stay on COBRA coverage longer than 18 months?

A: Questions about extending COBRA beyond the initial 18-month period should be directed to BenefitHelp Solutions at (800) 556-2230.

Q: Do I have the option of selecting a different plan when I move to COBRA coverage?

A: Normally COBRA coverage must be the exact same plan you had as an active employee but you can sometimes drop dependents or separate plans like dental or vision coverage.

Q: Is there an opportunity to change my COBRA plan elections at some time in the future (for instance, Open Enrollment)?

A: Yes, COBRA participants are allowed the same Open Enrollment options as they would have had were they still an active employee.  Available options and the associated premium costs for 4J COBRA participants are distributed by BenefitHelp Solutions each August.  Depending on the timeliness of the communications, COBRA participants may have a later enrollment period than active employees, although the goal is that they coincide with the actives (August 15th – September 15th).  Questions regarding COBRA Open Enrollment should be directed to BenefitHelp Solutions at (800) 556-2230.

Q: How can I learn more about how COBRA works, enrollment deadlines, payment deadlines and procedures, etc?

A: The quickest source for specific questions pertaining to your personal COBRA coverage/options is to call BenefitHelp Solutions at (800) 556-2230.  Below are links you may also find helpful:

BenefitHelp Solutions Frequently Asked Questions

“An Employee’s Guide to Health Benefits Under COBRA” – A very easy-to-understand yet comprehensive guide to COBRA benefits in general.

Q: Can I continue my life insurance as well as my health insurance?

A: You may be eligible to buy portable Group Life Insurance through the Standard within 31 days of losing your 4J life insurance.  Unlike COBRA, there are no laws requiring the employer to remind you of this option at the time your coverage ends, so it’s up to you to initiate the process.  A complete list of eligibility requirements and prices are printed on the application.  Prices on the application are monthly rates per $1,000 of Insurance and are based on age as well as tobacco usage of the covered individual.  There is a small section that needs to be completed by the employer, so you can call the 4J Benefits Manager at (541) 790-7675 and request that the form be mailed to you with the employer section already completed, or you can make arrangements to pick it up to expedite the process.