Back to Whatcom County home page Whatcom County | Departments | Contacts |  Help |  Search
 Administrative Servicesheader image
  A.S. Home  | Facilities  | Finance  | Human Resources  | Information Technology

Contact Us

County Courthouse
311 Grand Ave., Suite 107
Bellingham, WA 98225

Telephone: (360) 676-6802


Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Click here for directions

Quick Links
HR Homepage
Benefit Contact Information and Summary Plan Descriptions

What is COBRA?

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal law that requires employers who sponsor group health plans to let employees (and their dependents) keep their coverage under those plans, at their own expense, after certain qualifying events that would otherwise make them lose coverage.

Please refer to your Intial Notice of COBRA Continuation Rights for additional information.


What are the events that trigger COBRA and the maximum length of continuation of coverage?  

Qualifying Event Beneficiary Maximum Coverage Period
Termination of employment or reduction of hours employee, spouse, dependent children 18 months (or 29 months with disability extension)
Divorce or legal separation spouse, dependent children 36 months
Loss of dependent child status dependent child 36 months
Employee entitled to Medicare spouse, dependent children 36 months
Death of covered employee spouse, dependent children 36 months

Am I responsible for providing notice if I experience one of the qualifying events?

You must provide prompt notice to Human Resources with a Notice of Change to Benefits form. You and/or your dependents will only be eligible for COBRA if you provide notice within the specified timeframes.


How much does COBRA cost?

Monthly COBRA premiums vary depending on the plan(s) elected and the individual(s) covered. Click on your Bargaining Unit/Group below for current COBRA rates.


How do I elect COBRA?

Upon notice of a qualifying event, the group administrator for each covered plan will mail you COBRA election materials. Make sure to keep your and any covered family members' addresses current with Human Resources. A written election must be made in writing within 60 days from the date coverage would otherwise end or 60 days from the date a COBRA notice is provided, if later.


What other options do I have to continue coverage due to my employment ending besides COBRA?

Human Resources can provide you with resources to explore individual plans available in our community. Email or call ext. 56802 to request information.


Further Questions?

Call your Human Resources Representative.

Refer to the Department of Labor's Guide to Health Benefits Under COBRA.