Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
All employers with 20 or more employees that offer employees group health insurance benefits.
COBRA does not have specific recordkeeping requirements. However, if the university's compliance with COBRA is questioned, the burden of proof is on the university and, absent appropriate records, the university will not be able to show that it complied with the law. Therefore, as a best practice, the university should keep lists of employees covered by a group health plan along with their addresses; records related to any qualifying event (i.e., terminations, hour reductions, leaves of absence, deaths of employees, divorce, medicare eligibility, or disability status); records related to retirees covered by the group health plan; records of COBRA premium payments; records of changes made to the group health plan; records of employees denied coverage and the reasons for each denial; copies of notices both general and specific informing employees of the rights under COBRA; evidence that required notices were sent and received by employees and/or covered beneficiaries (i.e., copies of return receipt cards); and completed election forms.
Even though employees are only eligible for COBRA for the 18-month period following a qualifying event, employers should retain records for at least 3 years in the event a claim is filed by an employee claiming the employer did not notify them of their rights to continue coverage or terminated coverage before the 18-month period had expired.