Employee Benefits Security Administration Issues Updated Model COBRA Notices

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January 15, 2010

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued updated model COBRA notices to reflect the COBRA subsidy extension which was part of the Fiscal Year 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. We issued a legal update on December 22, 2009 which summarized the extension and its effect on an employer’s obligations under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“ARRA”). For your reference, follow this link to the previous legal update.
The updated model notices include a “General Notice” which is intended to be used for all qualifying event notices for ALL qualifying events from and after September 1, 2008 and through February 28, 2010, provided that a general notice has not already been provided. The updated “Alternative Notice” applies to group health plans which are not subject to federal COBRA, but are subject to a state continuation coverage law. Finally, the new “Premium Assistance Extension Notice” is intended to be sent to: (1) individuals who were assistance eligible individuals as of October 31, 2009; (2) individuals who experienced a termination of employment on or after October 31, 2009 and lost health care coverage (unless they were provided a timely, updated General Notice, discussed above); and (3) “transition period individuals” (those for whom the premium reduction provisions would continue to apply due to the extension from nine to 15 months and who otherwise remain eligible for the premium reduction).
If you have questions concerning this legal update or the COBRA provisions in ARRA, please contact Mary Ellen Schill, the author of this article, or any of the attorneys in the Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations Practice Group of Ruder Ware.

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