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Agencies Revise COBRA and CHIPRA Notices; Announce Special Marketplace Enrollment for COBRA Beneficiaries

The federal agencies charged with administering the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) have issued revised versions of the model COBRA and CHIPRA notices.  Moreover, current COBRA beneficiaries have been given a special one-time window in which to enroll in Marketplace coverage.

Model Exchange Notices and Revised COBRA Election Notice Issued

The Department of Labor has issued model notices for employers’ use in satisfying the Affordable Care Act requirement to provide employees with notice of coverage options available through a Health Insurance Marketplace.  Employers must distribute these notices to current employees no later than October 1, 2013, and beginning October 1, 2013, must distribute the notices to new employees within 14 days of hire.

COMMON PLAN MISTAKES: Failure to Timely Offer COBRA Coverage

The failure to timely offer COBRA continuation coverage to an employee on a non-FMLA leave is a common mistake in the administration of a self-funded health plan.  This mistake generally occurs because the plan sponsor wishes to assist an employee in his or her time of need.  Unfortunately, this can leave the sponsor with no stop-loss coverage for such an employee’s catastrophic health claims.

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