Many employers and third party administrators have been waiting for guidance from the DOL before issuing the new COBRA notices required under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The wait is over. The Department of Labor has finally updated its FAQs For Employers About COBRA Premium Reduction Under ARRA. It now includes the much anticipated model notices. The DOL website gives the following guidance for notice requirements and deadlines:
- A general notice to all qualified beneficiaries, whether they are currently enrolled in COBRA coverage or not, who have a qualifying event during the period from September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009. This notice may be provided separately or with the COBRA election notice following a COBRA qualifying event.
- A notice of the extended COBRA election period to any Assistance Eligible Individual (or any individual who would be an Assistance Eligible Individual if a COBRA continuation coverage election were in effect); who had a qualifying event at any time from September 1, 2008 through February 16, 2009; and who either did not elect COBRA continuation coverage or who elected but subsequently discontinued COBRA. This notice must be provided within 60 days following February 17, 2009.
The DOL’s COBRA Continuation Coverage Assistance Under The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act Of 2009 page continues to be updated with additional resources. You can download Job Loss Posters and Flyers and review Frequently Asked Questions for employers and employees.
In addition the DOL site also provides a link to the page the IRS has dedicated to COBRA Health Insurance Continuation Premium Subsidy. This page includes the updated Form 941 and Instructions and information on the phase out of the subsidy:
- This subsidy phases out for individuals whose modified adjusted gross income exceeds $125,000, or $250,000 for those filing joint returns. Taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income exceeding $145,000, or $290,000 for those filing joint returns, do not qualify for the subsidy.