The Department of Labor (DOL) released various model notices needed to comply with the COBRA premium assistance program extended to Assistance Eligible Individuals defined by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP).
The DOL also released a list of frequently asked questions that provides greater clarity on many of the issues, but not all, raised in the days following passage of the ARP.
For employers who elect to administer the premium assistance process, the DOL notices should be used in your participant communications.
COBRA election notice – This notice should be sent to those whose first eligibility for COBRA continuation of coverage occurs April 1, 2021, through the end of the premium
COBRA election notice in connection with extended election periods – This notice should be sent to those who are currently enrolled in COBRA coverage. It also should be sent to those who did not initially enroll in COBRA coverage when first eligible and for those who elected COBRA but dropped it during their initial 18-month COBRA period.
Model alternative election notice – This notice should be sent to those currently enrolled in state continuation coverage and whose first eligibility for continuation coverage occurs April 1, 2021, through the end of the premium assistance period. Aetna, Blue Cross of Kansas City, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare have stated the “second chance” enrollment opportunity available for COBRA participants does not apply for state continuation at this time. Should individual state departments of insurance, who regulate state continuation, issue a “second chance” requirement in coming days or weeks, we will issue an update.
Notice of premium expiration – This notice should be issued 15 to 45 days prior to the date the premium assistance expires for any Assistance Eligible Individuals who enrolled in continuation coverage.
Summary of COBRA premium assistance provisions form – This summary contains the Request for Treatment as an Assistance Eligible Individual form and should be included with each of the three election notices.
For additional information, contact your Bukaty benefits consultant at 913.345.0440