Department of Labor Updates Model COBRA Notices
Department of Labor Updates Model COBRA Notices

To assist employees in making informed healthcare decisions and employers in providing employees with the required notice of their rights, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued revised model COBRA notices reflecting COBRA’s interaction with Medicare.  

The revised model notices suggest that while covered employees and their beneficiaries may be eligible for COBRA continuation coverage, utilizing that coverage may ultimately have a detrimental impact on any future enrollment into Medicare.  In particular, a later enrollment in Medicare may incur penalty costs and cause a gap in coverage.  Consequently, an employee or former employee who is eligible for both Medicare and COBRA should consider whether enrolling in Medicare before, or in lieu of, COBRA better suits their situation and anticipated healthcare needs.

The EBSA encourages plan administrators to utilize its revised model notices to meet COBRA notice requirements which are available here.  To further support employers, the EBSA also provides a reference sheet entitled “FAQs About COBRA Model Notices,” accessible here.

Relatedly, California employers should remember that Cal-COBRA also requires notice be provided to plan participants apprising them of their rights, including some California-specific provisions.  Accordingly, employers who utilize the revised federal COBRA model notices, or portions thereof within their own notices, should ensure the California-required provisions remain intact.

For further information regarding this issue, please contact the author or your regular AALRR attorney.

This AALRR presentation is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in reaching a conclusion in a particular area of law. Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. Receipt of this or any other AALRR presentation/publication does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Firm is not responsible for inadvertent errors that may occur in the publishing process.

©2020 Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo

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