The creation of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, let many people keep their fantastic health insurance after they left a job. COBRA lasts only a year, but it's often enough to keep people well-insured as they deal with transitioning to another job. COBRA is expensive, and the rules can be complicated when switching from COBRA insurance to private health insurance or insurance through another job. While your benefits office should be able to handle most calls, it's often better to have a dedicated benefits service take over the files of employees who are using COBRA. Not only will that free up time for your benefits people, but it can also provide former employees with more specific advice.

They Field More of the Calls

While employees might still try to call your company's benefits office about COBRA, you can direct them to the other benefits service, and then calls from then on should go to the service. That means your benefits office will have time to concentrate on issues that your company and its current employees have to deal with. This is especially helpful if your company undergoes mass layoffs or a voluntary mass exodus. You'll have a lot of people calling in about COBRA, and it will be a lot easier to have a dedicated employer benefits service help them out.

This Is a Team Dedicated to Knowing the Rules

And calling the service dedicated is not an exaggeration. It's this service's job to know rules for benefits inside and out. While your HR or benefits people should know about COBRA policies, sometimes a former employee has a situation that can stump everyone but the experts, and these benefits services are the experts.

They Can Track Files of Employees Who Have Been Gone Several Months

Your office should hold on to the employee files of people who leave. However, the files for the administration of post-employment benefits, specifically, are better off with the benefits service. The benefits — even the non-COBRA ones — that the former employee will have access to will be reduced or be different from what current employees get, and it's just going to be easier to remove the duty of monitoring those benefits from the office that handles current employees.

Make life easier for your human resources and benefits staff by transferring benefits administration for former employees to a benefits service. Your current employees will get more attention from your own department while your former employees will be able to find the answers they seek as they navigate the waters of COBRA and other post-employment benefits.