Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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Your employer should provide you with the COBRA information upon your leaving employment. Usually that notice comes from the Plan Administrator which may be another employee, someone from a third party company, etc.
If you haven't heard from the employer within a week or so then send them a letter by certified mail, return receipt requested explaining that you haven't received your COBRA notice and that you want to sign up for COBRA and requesting that they provide the appropriate documents. Be sure and send it CMRRR so you can prove it was sent and they received the notice in case they mess something up.
Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested.
They are required by law to send them to you. I don't remember how long they have and it can vary slightly. I'll look that up for you.
COBRA allows employers 30 days to inform the COBRA administrator of a qualifying event and then the COBRA administrator has up to 14 days to mail the COBRA Specific Rights Notice to you so that would be a total of 44 days from the last day of work, plus an additional few days for the mail (usually three to ten days)
It starts from the date you leave the company, not the last date you are actually, physically there. Some people quit and then take their vacation time before they actually leave the company so the time in a situation like that wouldn't start until after the vacation time had passed.
The easiest way to think of it is the time starts when you are no longer an employee.