Be a Full-Service Consultant—Offer COBRA Every Time
January 4, 2022
Do you consider yourself a full-service consultant in the employee benefits space? If so, do you offer COBRA consulting or administrative services? COBRA is part of the package for almost all private employees with a minimum of twenty workers. This suggests that if you are not offering COBRA every time, you're missing a fantastic opportunity to grow your book of business.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act created COBRA in 1986. Because of the legislation, millions of American employees who, through some sort of qualifying event, lose access to their group health insurance, can elect to continue insurance coverage for a period of time, as long as they pay the total amount of their premiums.
Your clients undoubtedly know of COBRA and its legal requirements. However, they may not know all the finer details of the program. They might not know how to administer COBRA either. That is where you come in. You have the opportunity to add value to your services by being the go-to COBRA authority for your clients.
Health insurance benefits are complicated enough for your clients, so it is already important for brokers to help their clients navigate their options. COBRA, being a benefit established by government regulation, only adds to the confusion. Simply put, COBRA comes with specific requirements. Your clients may not necessarily know what those requirements are. They can deal directly with their insurance plans to figure it all out or work with you instead. Wouldn't you rather be the trusted authority?
Among the requirements is the list of qualifying events that make employees eligible for COBRA coverage. Examples of qualifying events include employment separation, divorce, or the death of a covered individual. Different qualifying events lead to different lengths of time for which health insurance coverage can be extended. One event might allow an 18-month COBRA extension while another could allow 36 months.
Though a qualifying event may automatically make an employee eligible for COBRA coverage under the law, initiating the coverage requires some administration. And where there is administration, there is paperwork. As a COBRA consultant, you can coordinate between insurance plans and your client to ensure the paperwork is done correctly.
As a COBRA administrator, you could go one step further by facilitating the entire process online. You could be the point person so that your clients and their respective health plans never have to deal with one another to get COBRA going. You handle it all and, in the process, become the hero to your clients.
Extending health insurance coverage under COBRA results in a shift of payment responsibility. In most cases, the covered individual pays the total cost of premiums out of pocket. This is yet another opportunity for you to shine. By offering COBRA consulting and administration to your clients, you’ll be able to use that to your advantage when quoting new pricing plans. You can specifically look for plans that have more attractive COBRA options.
Remember that COBRA is an ancillary benefit. So, if you’re thinking about adding ancillary benefits to expand your book of business, offer COBRA consultation and administration. Getting involved with COBRA is an opportunity you don't want to miss.
Most of your clients are required by law to participate in COBRA, so don’t miss your chance to truly be a full-service health insurance benefits consultant. By jumping into the COBRA pool, you’ll be giving your clients yet another reason to value your expertise and never go anywhere else for their employee benefits.