|In our March 31, 2021 Client Alert, we discussed the COBRA subsidy that provides free coverage to certain employees as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and what employers needed to do to be ready for those changes when the subsidy went into effect on April 1, 2021. By way of follow up, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has now released its model notices of the financial assistance available to continue health insurance coverage under COBRA. The DOL notices include an “ARPA General Notice and COBRA Continuation Coverage Election Notice,” to be provided to all individuals who will lose coverage due to a COBRA qualifying event between April 1 and September 30, 2021, and a separate “COBRA Continuation Coverage Notice in Connection with Extended Election Periods,” to be provided to anyone who may be eligible for the subsidy due to involuntary termination or reduction in hours occurring before April 1, 2021 (i.e., generally involuntary terminations or reductions in hours occurring on or after October 1, 2019).
Employers should send the applicable notice as soon as soon as they are ready, but in any case, on or before May 31, 2021, which is the deadline. While employers are free to develop their own notices, Prince Lobel advises using the DOL’s models because doing so will be considered good faith compliance with the notice requirements of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
There are also models for employers to give the required notification of the expiration of the subsidy period, which generally must be provided 15-45 days before the subsidy period expires.
For more information, please contact the authors of this alert, Chris Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org; 617-456-8034) and Joe Edwards (email@example.com; 617-456-8131) or any member of the Prince Lobel Employment Law team.
DOL Issues Model Notices for COBRA Subsidy
April 20, 2021