New COBRA model notices available

by Jessica Webb-Ayer

The Obama administration recently announced that new COBRA model notices are available. The notices alert employees about their ability to continue their healthcare coverage through COBRA following certain events that otherwise would result in termination of coverage.

The administration updated the notices to make it clear that if employees are eligible for COBRA continuation coverage when they leave a job, they may choose to purchase coverage through the health insurance marketplace (aka the health insurance exchange). According to the administration, the updated notices provide information “on more affordable options available through the marketplace, where workers and families may be eligible for financial assistance that would not otherwise be available for COBRA continuation coverage.”

The updated COBRA model general notice and the model election notice can be found here.

The administration also released other documents that may interest employers:

  • The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury published frequently asked questions regarding the changes to the model notices.
  • The HHS published a bulletin detailing a special enrollment period in the health insurance marketplace for certain individuals already enrolled in COBRA continuation coverage.