Your Compliance Edge

Preventing Common COBRA Mistakes

This page features the following topics:

  • Overview 
  • Thinking Your Group Health Plan is Not Subject to COBRA (or That You Don't Have a Group Health Plan) 
  • Forgetting About State Law 
  • Not Sending Required Notices or Providing Inaccurate or Insufficient Information in the Notices 
  • Failing to Include the Spouse (and Other Qualified Beneficiaries) When Sending Required Notices 
  • Not Recognizing When a Qualifying Event Has Occurred 
  • Miscalculating the Period of COBRA Coverage 
  • Ignoring Incorrect Premium Payments 
  • Treating Employees on COBRA Different from Similarly Situated Employees Who Are Not on COBRA 
  • Terminating COBRA Continuation Coverage Too Early 
  • Failing to Understand the Relationship Between Medicare and COBRA 


COBRA is a complex law that places numerous demands on employers. Preventing mistakes before they happen can keep plans in compliance with the law and avoid costly penalties. 

The following is a list of common mistakes that plans make when administering COBRA. If there is any question as to how COBRA applies to a particular plan, consult with a trusted attorney or benefits professional.

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