This morning the Department of Labor (“DOL”) published its much-anticipated model notices to help plan administrators and employers comply with the new COBRA notice requirements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “Act”). Under the Act, required notices must be sent to certain current and former participants and their dependents by April 18, 2009. Plan administrators and employers will likely find the DOL’s model notices helpful when preparing their own notices, but may need to customize the notices to fit their organization’s specific needs and circumstances.
Below are descriptions of the four model notices the DOL has prepared as well as links to the model notices.
1. General Notice. This general notice (for plans subject to federal COBRA) must be sent to all qualified beneficiaries who experienced a qualifying event between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009.
2. Abbreviated General Notice. As an alternative to the general notice, this abbreviated general notice may be sent to assistance eligible individuals who experienced a COBRA-qualifying event after September 1, 2008, elected COBRA and are still covered under COBRA.
3. Notice in Connection with Extended Election Periods. This notice (for plans subject to federal COBRA) must be sent in connection with extended election periods to any assistance eligible individual who:
- had a qualifying event at any time from September 1, 2008 through February 16, 2009; and
- either did not elect COBRA continuation coverage, or elected it but subsequently discontinued COBRA.
4. Alternative Notice. This alternative notice is for insurance issuers that provide group health insurance coverage and must send a notice to persons who became eligible for continuation coverage under a state law.
If you have any questions regarding the preparation of these notices, please contact a member of Parker Poe’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation group.