New COBRA Model Notices and FAQs for May 2020

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued new Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) model notices and corresponding frequently asked questions (FAQs) to better guide individuals who may be choosing between Medicare and COBRA continuation coverage.

The General Notice and the Election Notice were previously updated to provide individuals with more information about coverage options and tax subsidies that are available through the public Exchange/Marketplace.

Now they have been updated to also provide more information about Medicare, including details about late enrollment penalties for failing to enroll in Medicare when first eligible; they also clarify primary and secondary payer status between Medicare and COBRA continuation coverage.

The new model notices, as well as the DOL’s news release and FAQs (all released May 1, 2020), can be found here.

Employers should start using these notices immediately. As before, the model notices should be tailored to match the employer’s COBRA continuation offerings.

Common Questions

Which employers are affected?  Employers subject to Federal COBRA.

Which employers are subject to federal COBRA?  Employers that have at least 20 employees on more than 50 percent of its typical business days in the previous calendar year. Both full-and part-time employees are counted to determine whether a plan is subject to Cobra.

What if my company outsources COBRA administration?  The COBRA vendor should begin using the new model notices immediately.




About Michelle Cammayo

Michelle Cammayo has more than 13 years of Employee Benefits experience specializing in all lines of health and welfare benefits. Today, Michelle works closely with clients and partners to provide guidance in areas of the law including ERISA, HIPAA, COBRA, FMLA and PPACA. She also oversees the Compliance Department at Bolton & Company to ensure we are helping our clients manage and eliminate risk with regards to employee benefit compliance.

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