During the COVID-19 pandemic, refer to the Benefits Updates webpage for relevant information.
When no longer benefits eligible due to reduced hours or termination of employment, an employee can buy group healthcare coverage through COBRA for one’s self and/or eligible dependents for up to 18 months, or longer in certain cases. The University’s COBRA administrator is PayFlex.
- Access to the University’s medical, dental, vision, and healthcare flexible spending account (HFSA) on an after-tax basis
- May only elect the plan enrolled in when benefits-eligibility ends and may change the plan during the COBRA Annual Open Enrollment Period
- May not add dependents not covered when benefits-eligibility ends, except during the COBRA open enrollment period and may remove covered dependents
- Must pay the premium on time or coverage is discontinued with no reinstatement
Covered individuals pay the premium paid as an employee plus the premium the University paid on one’s behalf, plus a two percent administrative fee. Refer to the chart under eligibility.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law on March 11, 2021, provides for a 100% COBRA subsidy for eligible individuals affected by an involuntary termination or a reduction in hours that impact benefits-eligibility. While the COBRA subsidy does not extend the 18 month COBRA period, it does provide for a “second chance” to elect or re-elect COBRA coverage for any eligible individual still within their 18 month election period.
The 100% subsidy is available from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. Individuals who are eligible for other group health insurance or Medicare are not eligible for the subsidy. Payflex will provide additional information to individuals who may be eligible for the COBRA subsidy on or about May 31, 2021.
For additional information, contact Payflex at (800) 284-4885.
In general, the employee and each covered dependent are eligible to elect continuation of the plan coverage in effect when no longer qualifying for Princeton benefits. Types of qualifying events are:
|Qualifying Event||Covered Individual(s)||Length of COBRA Coverage|
Hours are reduced
|Up to 18 months|
Divorce or legal separation from spouse
|Spouse||Up to 36 months|
|Up to 36 months|
Loss of dependent eligibility under the University’s health care plans
|Employee’s children||Up to 36 months|
Deadlines & Enrollment Process
PayFlex notifies individuals of eligibility for COBRA insurance within 30 days of the date they are no longer eligible for University benefits.
Employees must return the election form to PayFlex within 60 days of receiving the election notice or within 60 days after University benefits end, whichever is later. These 60 days are called the election period. If an individual elects insurance coverage, they continue to have the right to waive or change the election through the end of the 60-day election period. If an individual is Medicare eligible and considering continuing coverage through COBRA, carefully review the information in the election notice for important information on Medicare enrollment.
An individual and their dependents are not covered by COBRA insurance during the election period. Once the first premium is paid, the COBRA insurance is effective retroactive to the date the coverage with the University ended. For example, if an individual goes to the doctor before COBRA coverage is effective, one may be required to pay for the service. Then, the individual would submit a claim form to the health insurance carrier to be reimbursed for the cost of the physician services.
Individuals have four choices regarding COBRA coverage at the time of initial enrollment:
- Continue enrollment in the plan that was in effect when either employment ended or work hours were reduced
- Change the number of covered dependents enrolled in the plan. For example, change from “employee and family” coverage to “employee only” coverage
- Continue coverage for one or more of covered dependents, even if an individual discontinues coverage for oneself
- Waive continuation of coverage
COBRA participants receive a billing statement from PayFlex and are responsible paying it on time.
To ensure continued coverage, PayFlex must receive the initial payment within 45 days of the date of the signed the COBRA Election Form. After that, monthly premiums are due the first of each month for each month of continuation coverage.
If PayFlex does not receive these payments within 31 days of the due date, coverage is terminated and cannot be reinstated.
During the COBRA continuation period, individuals receive written notification of the University's COBRA annual Benefits Open Enrollment Period (normally in November) to provide an opportunity to make allowed changes.
If a COBRA participant has a qualifying status change/event during COBRA coverage, the individual must notify PayFlex within 31 days of the event in order to adjust coverage.
Examples of status change events include:
- Birth or adoption
- Marriage or divorce
- Loss of dependent status
Notify PayFlex in writing of any change in address and/or telephone number.
Benefits Biling Department
P.O. Box 953374
St. Louis, MO 63195-3374
For any questions, contact PayFlex at (800) 284-4885.
Monthly COBRA rates for the period January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021. Rates typically are adjusted annually.
|Plan||Employee Only||Employee & Child(ren)||Employee & Spouse||Employee & Family|
|Aetna Princeton Health Plan (PHP)||$892.50||$1,633.02||$1,972.68||$2,767.26|
UnitedHealthcarePrinceton Health Plan (PHP)
|Aetna Consumer Directed Health Plan (CDHP)||$347.82||$636.48||$768.06||$1,077.12|
|J–1 Visa Plan||$892.50||$1,633.02||$1,972.68||$2,767.26|
|Metlife Vision Care Plan||$16.34||$26.78||$26.29||$43.17|
|MetLife Basic Option PPO Dental Plan||$20.37||$47.40||$43.49||$71.48|
MetLife High Option PPO Dental Plan