COBRA Continuation Coverage Rights
The following information constitutes Lowe's general notice of COBRA continuation coverage rights. For further information regarding COBRA continuation coverage, please see "Continuation of Coverage Under COBRA."
You are receiving this notice because you are covered under the Lowe's Welfare Plan (the Plan). The Plan includes a Group Health Plan Option, a Dental Plan Option, a Vision Plan, a Part-time Medical Plan Option, a Part-time Dental Plan Option, and a Health Flexible Spending Arrangement (Health FSA). If you are enrolled in one or more of these plan options, this notice contains important information about your right to COBRA continuation coverage, which is a temporary extension of group health coverage under the Plan. The right to COBRA continuation coverage was created by a federal law, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 ("COBRA"). COBRA continuation coverage can become available to you and to your covered dependents when you would otherwise lose your group health coverage. This notice generally explains COBRA continuation coverage, when it may become available to you and your covered dependents, and what you need to do to protect the right to receive it. This notice gives only a summary of your COBRA continuation coverage rights. For more information about your rights and obligations under the Plan and under federal law, you should either review the summary plan descriptions for the Plan's group health programs or get a copy of the plan document from the plan administrator.
Your COBRA administrator depends upon which group health plan option you are enrolled in. The COBRA administrator is:
Group Medical, Dental, and Vision Care Plan Options and Health FSA: Key Benefit Administrators (KBA)
Attn: Lowe's COBRA Department
P.O. Box 1885
Fort Mill, SC 29716
Limited Benefit Health Plan for Part-time Employees and Part-time Dental Plan Options:
P.O. Box 15123
Lemexa, KS 66285-5123
1-866-542-6272 (ask for COBRA administration)
The COBRA administrator is responsible for administering COBRA continuation coverage. The COBRA administrator for each plan option, or that COBRA administrator's address and telephone number may change from time to time. For the most recent information, check the Plan's most recent summary plan description, or contact the HR Shared Services at 1-888-HRINFO5 (1-888-474-6365).
COBRA continuation coverage is a continuation of Plan coverage when coverage would otherwise end because of a life event known as a qualifying event. Specific qualifying events are listed later in this notice. COBRA continuation coverage must be offered to each person who is a qualified beneficiary. A qualified beneficiary is someone who will lose coverage under the Plan because of a qualifying event. Depending on the type of qualifying event, employees, spouses or domestic partners of employees, and dependent children of an employee and/or domestic partner's children may be qualified beneficiaries. (Certain newborns, newly adopted children, and alternate recipients under QMCSOs may also be qualified beneficiaries. This is discussed in more detail in separate paragraphs below). Under the Plan, qualified beneficiaries who elect COBRA continuation coverage must pay for COBRA continuation coverage.
If you are an employee, you will become a qualified beneficiary, if you lose your coverage under the Plan because either one of the following qualifying events happens:
- Your hours of employment are reduced, or
- Your employment ends for any reason other than your gross misconduct.
If you are the spouse or domestic partner of an employee, you will become a qualified beneficiary if you lose your coverage under the Plan because any of the following qualifying events happens:
- Your spouse or domestic partner dies;
- Your spouse's or domestic partner's hours of employment are reduced;
- Your spouse's or domestic partner's employment ends for any reason other than his/her gross misconduct;
- Your spouse or domestic partner becomes enrolled in Medicare (Part A, Part B or both); or
- You become divorced or legally separated from your spouse or your domestic partner relationship with your domestic partner ends.
If the legal separation or divorce occurs within one year after an annual enrollment period during which the spouse is dropped from coverage, the spouse may still be eligible for COBRA coverage beginning on the date of legal separation or divorce (whichever comes first) if the termination of coverage was "in anticipation of" the legal separation or divorce. The ex-spouse must notify the COBRA administrator within 60 days after the divorce (or legal separation) and submit evidence that the employee cancelled the coverage earlier in anticipation of the divorce (or legal separation). Once notified of the legal separation or divorce after an annual enrollment period during which the spouse is dropped from coverage, the Plan administrator (or its designee) will determine whether the previous termination of coverage was "in anticipation of" the legal separation or divorce in accordance with the Plan's internal policies and procedures. In no event will a termination of coverage be considered "in anticipation of" a legal separation or divorce if the divorce or legal separation occurs more than one year after the termination of coverage.
Your dependent children and/or your domestic partner's children will become qualified beneficiaries if they lose coverage under the Plan because any of the following qualifying events happens:
- The parent-employee or domestic partner-employee dies;
- The parent-employee's or domestic partner-employee's hours of employment are reduced;
- The parent-employee's or domestic partner-employee's employment ends for any reason other than his/her gross misconduct;
- The parent-employee or domestic partner-employee becomes enrolled in Medicare (Part A, Part B, or both);
- parents become divorced or legally separated or the domestic partner parents end their relationship; or
- The child stops being eligible for coverage under the plan as a dependent child and/or domestic partner's child.
Sometimes, filing a proceeding in bankruptcy under title 11 of the United States Code can be a qualifying event. If a proceeding in bankruptcy is filed with respect to the Company, and that bankruptcy results in the loss of coverage of any retired employee covered under the Plan, the retired employee is a qualified beneficiary with respect to the bankruptcy. The retired employee's spouse or domestic partner, surviving spouse or domestic partner, dependent children and/or domestic partner's children also will be qualified beneficiaries if bankruptcy results in the loss of their coverage under the Plan.
The Plan will offer COBRA continuation coverage to qualified beneficiaries only after the COBRA Administrator has been timely notified that a qualifying event has occurred. When the qualifying event is the end of employment or reduction of hours of employment, death of the employee, commencement of a proceeding in bankruptcy with respect to the employer, or enrollment of the employee in Medicare (Part A, Part B, or both), the employer must notify the COBRA administrator of the qualifying event within 44 days of any of these events.
You Must Give Notice of Some Qualifying Events
For the other qualifying events (divorce or legal separation of the employee and spouse or the domestic partner relationship ending or a dependent child and/or domestic partner's child losing eligibility for coverage as a dependent child), you must notify the COBRA administrator. The Plan requires you to notify the COBRA administrator in writing within 60 days after the later of the qualifying event or the loss of coverage. You must send this notice to the COBRA administrator.
How is COBRA Coverage Provided?
Once the COBRA administrator receives timely notice that a qualifying event has occurred, COBRA continuation coverage will be offered to each of the qualified beneficiaries. For each qualified beneficiary who timely elects COBRA continuation coverage, COBRA continuation coverage will begin on the date that Plan coverage would otherwise have been lost. If you or your spouse or domestic partner, dependent children and/or domestic partner's children do not elect continuation coverage within this 60-day election period, you will lose your right to elect COBRA continuation coverage.
In order to continue your coverage, you (or your covered dependent) will need to pay premiums every month in an amount determined by the Plan Administrator. The amount determined by the Plan can be up to 102% of the full regular coverage cost. The cost is calculated as both the part that you presently pay and the part that Lowe's pays for you. Your first payment will be due no later than 45 days of the date you elect to continue coverage. This initial payment will need to be sufficient to cover time already passed between the date that you would have lost coverage due to the qualifying event and the date of your payment as well as the rest of the month that you are in at the time of payment. Subsequent payments are due on the first day of each month for that month with a grace period of 30 days.
If you don't make the full premium payment by the due date or within the thirty-day grace period, then COBRA coverage will be cancelled retroactively to the first of the month, with no possibility of reinstatement. The Plan reserves the right to retroactively cancel COBRA coverage and will require reimbursement of all benefits paid after the date you or your covered spouse or domestic partner, dependent children and/or domestic partner's children become covered under another group health plan, if proper notification of such coverage is not provided.
COBRA continuation coverage is a temporary continuation of coverage. When the qualifying event is the death of the employee, enrollment of the employee in Medicare (Part A, Part B, or both), your divorce or legal separation, or a dependent child losing eligibility as a dependent child, COBRA continuation coverage lasts for up to 36 months.
When the qualifying event is the end of employment or reduction of the employee's hours of employment, COBRA continuation coverage lasts for up to 18 months. There are two ways in which this 18-month period of COBRA continuation coverage can be extended.
If COBRA continuation is elected due to your termination of employment or reduction in hours and your spouse or domestic partner, a covered dependent child and/or domestic partner's child is determined by the Social Security Administration to have been disabled at anytime within the first 60 days of COBRA coverage, the initial 18-month time period will be extended up to 29 months from the date of the original qualifying event, as long as the disability continues throughout this period. You, your spouse or domestic partner, dependent child and/or domestic partner's child must notify the COBRA administrator of this disability within 60 days of the date of the Social Security disability determination and prior to the end of the initial COBRA period in accordance with the notice procedures in this section.
If you or your covered disabled spouse or domestic partner, dependent or domestic partner's child is determined by the Social Security Administration to be no longer disabled, your COBRA continuation will terminate before the end of the 29-month extended COBRA continuation period. If you are determined to no longer be disabled, your coverage will end on the earlier of the first day of the month that begins 30 days after the determination that you are no longer disabled, or the end of the applicable coverage period, whichever comes first.
If you lost coverage as a result of a termination of employment or reduction in hours of employment and a second qualifying event occurs during the 18-month continuation period, your dependents covered at the time of the first qualifying event who elected COBRA coverage may be eligible for 36 months of continued coverage measured from the date of the first qualifying event. These second qualifying events are divorce or legal separation, your death, your eligibility for Medicare, or a child ceases to be an eligible dependent. For example, if you terminate employment and have COBRA continued coverage for yourself and your qualified dependents, and during the continuation period, become divorced, the qualified dependents would be entitled to a total of 36 months of coverage from the date your COBRA coverage began.
You or your covered dependents must notify the COBRA administrator at the occurrence of a second qualifying event in accordance with the notice procedures below in order to extend the original 18-month continuation period.
Failure to notify the COBRA administrator of the second qualifying event within 60 days from the date the event occurs will result in forfeiture of your dependent's right to extend coverage under COBRA.
If you qualify for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) as defined by the Trade Act of 2002, then you will be provided with an additional 60-day enrollment period, with coverage beginning on the date of such TAA approval.
The maximum COBRA coverage period for a Health FSA maintained by the employer ends on the last day of the plan year in which the qualifying event occurred.
A child born to, adopted by, or placed for adoption with a covered employee during a period of continuation coverage is considered to be a qualified beneficiary provided that, the covered employee is a covered beneficiary, or the covered employee has elected continuation coverage for himself or herself. The child's COBRA coverage begins when the child is enrolled in the plan option, whether through special enrollment or open enrollment. It lasts for as long as COBRA coverage lasts for other covered dependents of the employee. To be enrolled in the plan option, the child must satisfy the otherwise applicable eligibility requirements for that plan option (for example, the age requirements).
A child of the covered employee who is receiving benefits under a group health plan option pursuant to a Qualified Medical Child Support Order (QMCSO) received by the Plan administrator during the covered employee's period of employment with Lowe's is entitled to the same rights under COBRA as a dependent child of the covered employee, regardless of whether that child would otherwise be considered a dependent.
If you have questions about your COBRA continuation coverage, you should contact the COBRA administrator (Key Benefit Administrators or COBRA Guard, Inc., see contact information above under "Your COBRA Administrator") or you may contact the nearest regional or district office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). Addresses and phone numbers of regional and district EBSA offices are available through EBSA's website at www.dol.gov/ebsa
In order to protect your rights, you should keep the COBRA administrator informed of any changes in the addresses of you or your covered dependents. You should also keep a copy for your records as well as any notices you send to the COBRA administrator.
- Continuation of Coverage Under COBRA
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
- If Your Claim is Denied
- Plan Administration
- Information about Filing Claims
- Privacy Notice
- COBRA Continuation Coverage Rights
- Long Term Care Insurance Plan
- Claims and Appeals Procedures Chart
- Your Right to Obtain Individual Coverage
- Right of Recovery (Also Known as Subrogation or Acts of Third Parties)
- Maintenance of Benefits