COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) is available when you first leave PG&E. Within two weeks after you retire, PG&E’s COBRA administrator will send you cost information and forms to continue medical, dental, vision, Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and health care flexible spending account participation.
You won’t have dental, vision, flexible spending account or Employee Assistance Program coverage through PG&E after you retire—but you can continue these benefits through COBRA at your expense.
If you plan to enroll in a PG&E-sponsored retiree medical plan when you retire, do not elect COBRA medical coverage.
COBRA medical coverage
COBRA medical coverage could cost less than PG&E-sponsored retiree medical coverage—but it may not be such a good deal.
|Risk of a coverage gap|
COBRA coverage ends 18 months after you retire.
After that, you could be without coverage until you elect other coverage.
You wouldn’t be able to elect PG&E-sponsored retiree medical coverage until the next Open Enrollment—for coverage effective the following January 1.
|Higher premium costs|
There’s a subsidy for PG&E-sponsored retiree medical coverage that you don’t get with COBRA—the (RMSA).
You can only use the RMSA to help pay for PG&E-sponsored retiree medical coverage—not for COBRA coverage.
The costs for COBRA medical coverage will be in your COBRA packet. PG&E’s COBRA administrator will mail the packet to you within two weeks after you retire.
You’ll probably pay less out of pocket for PG&E-sponsored retiree medical premiums than for COBRA premiums.
|No automatic pension deduction|
You can use your pension to pay for COBRA coverage—but there’s no automatic pension deduction. Instead, you’ll get a monthly bill from PG&E’s COBRA administrator.
You can pay your COBRA premiums by mailing a check with your monthly invoice to the COBRA administrator; through automated payments from your checking or savings account; or online via the COBRA administrator website.
If you decide to elect COBRA medical coverage, your benefits will be identical to your current employee coverage. You won’t be able to change plans or add dependents under COBRA until Open Enrollment. Any changes to the plans for active employees will also apply to your coverage.
COBRA dental and vision coverage
You have the option of electing COBRA dental and vision coverage when you first leave PG&E. This coverage ends 18 months after you retire, and you pay the full cost plus an administration fee. You may be able to find more affordable coverage through Other Dental and Vision Options.