Leaving BP

What happens to benefits if you leave BP
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When you leave BP, you may be eligible for coverage under the BP Retiree Medical Plan or for COBRA continuation coverage under the BP Medical Program. COBRA continuation coverage information is below. See the separate retiree medical information available on LifeBenefits for details on the BP Retiree Medical Plan.

COBRA coverage

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (referred to as “COBRA”) allows you and your eligible dependents to elect a temporary continuation of group health coverage, under certain circumstances, when coverage would otherwise end. For purposes of BP health care programs, domestic partners and civil union partners are offered continuation coverage comparable to the coverage offered to covered spouses under COBRA. For convenience, this summary plan description refers to the continuation coverage generally as “COBRA” coverage.

If you or one of your eligible dependents loses group health coverage because of a qualifying event, you may elect to continue your current group health coverage under COBRA for up to 18, 29 or 36 months, depending on the qualifying event. You or your eligible dependent must call the BP Benefits Center within 60 days of the loss of coverage due to the qualifying event or the date a COBRA notice is sent by the BP Benefits Center, whichever is later.

Qualifying events

You may elect COBRA coverage if your coverage would otherwise end because:

  • Your work hours are reduced and you are no longer eligible for that coverage; or
  • You leave BP.

If your eligible dependent has BP coverage, he/she may elect COBRA coverage if coverage would otherwise end because:

  • Your work hours are reduced and you are no longer eligible for group health coverage;
  • You leave BP;
  • You and your spouse divorce or your domestic partnership/civil union ends;
  • Your dependent no longer qualifies as an eligible dependent;
  • You become entitled to Medicare; or
  • You die.
 

Maximum period of COBRA coverage

Your maximum period of COBRA coverage begins on the date group health coverage would otherwise be lost because of a qualifying event and ends 18, 29 or 36 months later, as summarized in the following schedule:

Who
Length of Coverage
Qualifying Event

You and/or your eligible dependents

18 months

  • Your work hours are reduced.
  • You leave BP.  

29 months

  • You or one of your eligible dependents is disabled (as defined by the Social Security Administration) at the time your work hours are reduced or you leave BP, or within 60 days of the beginning of COBRA coverage.

Your eligible dependents

36 months

  • You and your spouse divorce.
  • Your dependent no longer qualifies as an eligible dependent.
  • You become entitled to Medicare.a
  • You die.

a The 36-month period is measured from the date you become entitled to Medicare benefits even if that event does not trigger loss of group coverage.

If you have HMO coverage, state law may provide for an additional period of coverage beyond the COBRA Continuation periods. Contact the HMO directly for more information.

Electing COBRA coverage

The COBRA election process is a three-step process:

  1. You or your covered dependent must experience a qualifying event that triggers COBRA eligibility. A subsequent qualifying event (such as disability, death, divorce or loss of a dependent child’s eligibility status) that occurs during an initial 18- or 29-month period of COBRA coverage can also trigger an extension of COBRA coverage, up to the maximum allowed.
  2. You or your dependent must notify the BP Benefits Center within 60 days of a qualifying event such as disability, death, divorce or loss of a dependent child’s eligibility status. The BP Benefits Center will then mail COBRA enrollment materials to the affected family member. For certain qualifying events, such as your leaving BP or your reduction in hours causing loss of benefits eligibility, the BP Benefits Center will send COBRA materials, without any required action by you.
  3. You or your affected dependent must contact the BP Benefits Center to elect COBRA within 60 days of the loss of coverage due to the qualifying event or the date the COBRA notice is sent by the BP Benefits Center, whichever is later. Notify the BP Benefits Center if the COBRA materials are not timely received.

If notice of the qualifying event is not received by the BP Benefits Center within 60 days of the event, the affected family members will not be allowed to elect COBRA coverage.

Paying for COBRA coverage

The cost of COBRA coverage equals 100% of the total cost of coverage plus a 2% administrative fee, for a total of 102%. 

For the additional 11 months of coverage due to disability, the cost of COBRA continuation coverage equals 100% of the total cost of coverage plus a 50% administrative fee, for a total of 150%. 

If you or an affected dependent elects COBRA coverage, the BP Benefits Center will send a monthly bill to that individual. That person will have 45 days from the date of the election to make the first payment. All future payments will be due in full on the fifth of each month, with a 30-day grace period.

Extending COBRA coverage

Your eligible dependents can extend coverage for up to an additional 18 months (for a total of 36 months) if one of the following qualifying events occurs during the initial 18-month COBRA coverage period:

  • You and your spouse divorce or your domestic partnership or civil union ends.
  • Your dependent no longer qualifies as an eligible dependent.
  • You become entitled to Medicare.
  • You die.

You or your dependents must notify the BP Benefits Center in writing within 60 days of the second qualifying event to elect extended COBRA coverage. 

For disability

You and your eligible dependents may be eligible to extend COBRA coverage for up to an additional 11 months (for a total of 29 months) if:

  • You or your eligible dependent is eligible for Social Security disability benefits when coverage first begins (or you or your eligible dependent becomes disabled within the first 60 days of COBRA coverage).
  • The disability continues throughout the COBRA continuation period.

To be eligible for this 11-month extension, you or your eligible dependent must notify the BP Benefits Center of the person’s disability within 60 days after you or your eligible dependent receives a written determination of disability — for Social Security purposes — but before the end of your initial 18-month COBRA coverage period. 

The extension of COBRA coverage applies to all family members of the disabled person, even those family members who are not disabled.

End of COBRA coverage

COBRA coverage will end on the earliest of the following dates:

  • The last day of the maximum period of COBRA coverage.
  • The last day of the month for which the last contribution was made within the required time period.
  • The last day of the month in which the covered person becomes covered under another group health plan during the COBRA coverage period, unless that plan contains an enforceable clause for pre-existing health conditions.
  • The last day of the month in which a covered person ceases to be considered disabled under the Social Security Act if the COBRA continuation period has been extended for up to 11 months due to the disability.
  • The last day of the month preceding the month in which the covered person first becomes entitled to Medicare during the COBRA coverage period.
  • The date BP stops providing group health benefits.

 

Publication date: April 2019

 

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