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The Department of Labor has issued new COBRA continuation coverage notices this month, May 2014. COBRA contains provisions giving certain former employees, retirees, spouses, former spouses, and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates. This coverage, however, is only available when coverage is lost due to certain specific events.

The new notices provide information regarding:

  • the health insurance marketplace as an alternative to COBRA coverage,
  • special enrollment periods to enroll in health insurance marketplace coverage
  • changing from COBRA coverage to coverage in the marketplace
  • factors for individuals to consider when selecting coverage options

Employers should utilize these new notices to communicate with employees about their rights to enroll in the marketplace. Use of these model notices, properly completed with employer information, will be considered good faith compliance with the notice content requirements of COBRA.

The new model notices and more information regarding COBRA coverage can be obtained at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/COBRA.html. If you have any questions about how this might impact your business or your employees, feel free to contact KMA anytime.