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A quick COBRA self-audit – The who, what, when, where and how. Can your organization pass?

Can your organization pass a COBRA self-audit?

Let’s face it; sometimes COBRA can fall to the bottom of the priority list. If you’re like most HR professionals, you’re juggling a gaggle of other projects and issues – enrollment deadlines, compensation issues, staff development and many more. While COBRA compliance may not seem like a top priority, ignoring it or getting it wrong can be very costly.  COBRA Checklist Audit List

If you think the preceding paragraph doesn’t apply to you and you’re on top of COBRA compliance, congratulations! Getting compliance right is more than just sending the right notice at the right time. It is also about being able to prove what you did and when you did it.

Below is a quick COBRA self-audit to help you ensure your COBRA compliance records are up to speed.

With COBRA, you must be able prove the items below:

Who – Who was the mailing sent to?  Was it addressed properly to include all applicable – (beneficiaries) members?

What – What was communicated?  Do you have record of what was stated in the notice?  With 39 potential deadlines, which ones were listed in your notice?

When – When was the notice sent?  Was it sent on time?  Do you know if you have 14 days or 44 to send out the notice?  And, does your compliance clock start from the loss of coverage or the event date?

Where – Where was the mailing sent?  COBRA requires that you mail to the last known address.  Are your COBRA notices going to the correct location?

How – How was the notice provided?

  • Did you hand your new hire notice out during orientation?  Unless the spouse was present at orientation (and you can prove it), this will not reduce your litigation liability for the spouse.
  • Did you send it certified? If so, you have inadvertently increased your cobra liability.

With COBRA, the only way to prove you have done is to mail everything first class with proof of mail.

How did you do? For each COBRA notice, can you pass the who, what, when, where and how self-audit?  If not, we have good news and bad news for you:

  • The Bad News: You have a COBRA liability (and you’re not alone)
  • The Good News: You can outsource it!

For a very minimal monthly fee, we make certain that all your COBRA notifications pass the who, what, when, where and how tests – giving you a peace of mind that your organization is in compliance. Give us a call at 937.865.6501 or request a quote today!


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