Posts Tagged 'benefits'

COBRA Update – Official Answer On Rebates

Question: I am eligible for the premium reduction and have been enrolled in COBRA coverage since before the ARRA’s enactment. Can I get a refund of 65% of the premiums I have paid prior to the law’s enactment?

Answer: No. The premium reduction provisions apply only to premiums for coverage periods beginning on or after February 17, 2009. If you were eligible for the reduction but paid in full for periods of COBRA coverage beginning on or after February 17, 2009, you should contact the plan administrator or employer sponsoring the plan to discuss a credit against future payments (or a refund in certain circumstances)

If you have specific questions about your situation and how these new rules apply to you, you may wish to speak with one of our Benefits Advisors by calling 1.866.444.3272. You should also check the COBRA Premium Reduction FAQs.

COBRA Refunds

We’ve gotten word that with recent changes to the COBRA regulations, if you took advantage of Heller’s very small COBRA window, you may be entitled to a refund.

You may want to contact PayFlex or WageWorks if you made a COBRA payment as part of your continued coverage.

Did You Receive a COBRA Packet From PayFlex?

I was first alerted to this COBRA info from an astute ex-Hellerite in New York who scanned a copy and sent it my way.  It was only several days later that I received my own packet from PayFlex.

From what others have told me, none of us qualify for this and that it may be just a formality that PayFlex has to go through in order to comply with HIPAA and COBRA notification laws.  

If you have any other information please feel free to add in the Comments section.

Heller Ehrman 2008 Benefit Costs

There was a request from a reader via comments to post the “2007 Open Enrollment Form.”  I’m assuming this was the form distributed in October 2007 for 2008 benefits.

Unfortunately, as a California employee, I only have two sheets which show the benefits costs for 2008 California employee benefits.  The links are below.

If any reader as a copy of the benefits costs for the other offices, we’d greatly appreciate it if you could scan them and then email them to me at for posting.










Clarification on Flexible Spending Account Deadlines

Although the information was contained in a previous post, I want to break out the information in deadline format since the March 31, 2009 does not apply to most of us – the deadlines may be as soon as this week!

If you have reimbursable medical expenses, they must have occurred while you were still employed by Heller.  And – this is the important part – you must submit health carereimbursement account claims within 90-days of the date on which your employment ended.

This means if you were terminated on October 10, 2008, your deadline is January 10, 2009 – this Saturday!  If you were terminated on October 17, 2008 your deadline is January 17, 2009.

Reminder – 2008 Flexible Spending Account Plan Claim Submission Deadline!

The following information was received from Paul Sugarman via e-mail overnight.  I am re-posting here, along with the forms, for those who may not be on the e-mail list.

Wageworks Health Care Reimbursement Claim Form:

Wageworks Dependent Care Reimbursement Claim Form:

To Heller Ehrman Former Employees:

If you were a participant in the Firm’s Flexible Spending Account Plan, your participation automatically ended on the date your employment with the Firm ended.  The rules are different for the deadlines that apply to the submission of requests for reimbursement of Dependent Care and Health Care expenses. 

Health Care Reimbursement Claims: Health care expenses you incurred after your employment with the Firm ended will not be reimbursed, unless you elected to continue to make contributions to the Plan on an after-tax basis pursuant to the provisions of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (“COBRA”).  This election opportunity was provided to you in the COBRA election packet you received from PayFlex.  If you did not elect COBRA continuation coverage for your health care reimbursement account, reimbursable expenses are limited to those you incurred while employed by the Firm, and you must submit health care reimbursement account claims within 90-days of the date on which your employment ended or by March 31, 2009, whichever date is earlier.  Thus, if you did not elect to participate in the Plan after you left the Firm’s employ and your last date of employment was October 15,2008, you must submit claims for reimbursement of health care expenses incurred on or before October 15, 2008 no later than 90 days after your last date of employment.

Dependent Care Reimbursement Claims: You must submit dependent care reimbursement account claims no later than March 31, 2009.  You will only be reimbursed from your dependent care reimbursement account if you had a positive balance in the account when your employment terminated.  You may also be reimbursed for eligible dependent care expenses you incurred during the remainder of the Plan Year in which your employment ended from amounts that you contributed prior to your termination of employment.

Please complete the attached forms to submit your claims and fax to WageWorks at 877-353-9236.  If you have any questions, please contact Cheryl Vance at

COBRA Update

Well folks here we are at the middle of the month, and only now are some people finding out about COBRA. In my post of 10/29/2008, an interesting comment came in which I want to highlight:

“I finally got my Cobra packet today – Nov. 14. It had a premium amount for Kaiser and something called HDHP. Of course there was no information about VSP. But I got lucky when Cheryl Vance (firmwide benefits) returned my phone call! She said the HDHP is an error anda to ignore it. She said if I want to include VSP coverage, to write it in and the monthly fee is about 8 bucks. I just ordered new glasses – wow, are they expensive nowadays – and my savings with VSP was about 50%. So I definitely needed to have VSP coverage at least through Nov. 30. If anyone else is interested in keeping VSP, just write it in and the cost for one month (single) is $8.12.”

Please tell us your experiences with COBRA and whether or not you’ve received your informational packet.  And while the cost for Kaiser or CIGNA might be through the roof, it might be worth it to pay the VSP portion and go get those new glasses you’ve been putting off.

Life preserver.jpg
Remember the words of Rev. Frank Scott (Gene Hackman in The Poseidon Adventure):

". . . sitting on our butts is not going to help us either. Maybe by climbing out of here, we can save ourselves. If you've got any sense, you'll come along with us."

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Last Modified: September 14, 2008

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