EB Flash: EBSA Issues New COBRA Model Notices for Employee Benefit Plans

Employee Benefits Alert

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued new model notices to inform plan participants and beneficiaries of their rights under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and qualified beneficiaries of their rights to elect COBRA. The move was prompted by a bipartisan letter sent earlier this year by the chairs and ranking members of several House Committees with jurisdiction over employer plans.

In general, COBRA permits employees (and family members) who lose their group health coverage due to termination (or reduction in hours, death, divorce/separation, Medicare entitlement and loss of dependent status) to continue group health coverage.

The Department of Labor (DOL) explains that the revised model notices "provide additional information to address COBRA's interaction with Medicare. The model notices explain that there may be advantages to enrolling in Medicare before, or instead of, electing COBRA. It also highlights that if an individual is eligible for both COBRA and Medicare, electing COBRA coverage may impact enrollment into Medicare as well as certain out-of-pocket costs."

The two new model notices are posted and linked below:

In conjunction with these new model notices, EBSA also issued several FAQs on the notices. These FAQs are posted here.

A press release issued by the DOL is posted here.

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