Friday, April 30, 2010
COBRA Notices Updated
Tommy Eden, Attorney
On April 27, 2010, the federal Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration once again released updated model COBRA notices that employers and group health plan administrators can use to comply with notice requirements. Under COBRA, as amended, employers or plan administrators must send notices to assistance eligible individuals who are employees, their spouses, and employees' dependents who lose group health plan coverage due to certain qualifying events, including employees' involuntary employment termination that occurs between Sept. 1, 2008, and May 31, 2010. Notices must be provided to assistance eligible individuals within a certain number of days after qualifying events occur. To learn more about notice requirements and review the model notices and DOL guidance see: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/cobra.html
New notices must be postmarked as mandated to avoid substantial fines of $110 a day and attorney fee claims. Examine all your employee terminations since beginning Sept 1, 2008 and determine if you need to take action today.
Common Sense Counsel: All DOL model notices and forms must be modified for use with your group health plan by inserting specific information and deleting inapplicable provisions. ARRA is highly complicated as this DOL and IRS guidance show. Doing nothing, or guessing wrong, can be expensive.
Tommy Eden is a Lee County native, an attorney with the local office of Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP and a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and serves on the Board of Directors for the East Alabama SHRM Chapter. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334-246-2901. Blog at www.alabamaatwork.com