UPDATE: New COBRA Subsidy Website
The Department of Labor (DOL) has released model notices and a COBRA subsidy information website related to the COBRA subsidy that was passed as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). The website will be a central location that the DOL uses to inform individuals of their potential right to take advantage of the subsidy, and to assist employers with fulfilling their compliance obligations.
The American Rescue Plan Act or 2021 (ARPA) requires employers to update existing COBRA election notices with new language describing the subsidy. There is also a new special notice that employers must send to any individuals who experienced a COBRA event due to an involuntary termination or reduction in hours and who are still within their maximum coverage period. This notice informs these individuals of their right to a second chance at electing COBRA coverage. The special notice must be sent to Assistance Eligible Individuals (AEIs) no later than May 31, 2021. Finally, a notice must be sent to anyone receiving the premium assistance informing them when the subsidy is about to end. This notice must be sent between 15 - 45 days prior to the expiration of the subsidy.
DOL Model Notices and Website
The Department of Labor (DOL) has released model notices and a “Summary of COBRA Premium Assistance Provisions” document that employers can use to communicate with AEIs. The DOL makes it clear that employers are not required to use these exact notices, but it is expected that most employers’ administrators will use language from the model notices, or a version of the model notices, as they attempt to communicate COBRA subsidy election opportunities and requirements to AEIs.
The DOL’s COBRA subsidy website can be found here and includes the model notices, an FAQ, and other general COBRA-related information.
Please reach out to BCC with any questions.