On May 1, 2020, the DOL issued a series of questions and answers regarding COBRA, as well as a new set of model notices. As background, regulations governing COBRA require plan administrators to provide persons who enroll in the plan with an initial notice of their right to elect COBRA when they initially sign up for plan coverage. Plan administrators must also provide those persons who lost coverage after the occurrence of certain events with an election notice that explains their rights to coverage through COBRA and provides them with an opportunity to make that election. The agency updated these model notices.
The revisions to the model notices and the question and answer document focus on the interaction between COBRA and Medicare. They make clear that there are circumstances under which a person who is eligible for both Medicare and COBRA, and who chooses coverage through COBRA, may face penalties when they later enroll in Medicare. They also make clear that when a person is enrolled in both Medicare and COBRA coverage, Medicare is the primary payer and COBRA is the secondary payer.
Although certain deadlines in COBRA administration have been extended in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the revisions to the COBRA materials do not mention them.
Plan administrators may use the model notices to comply with COBRA notice requirements, and they should familiarize themselves with the information provided in the revisions regarding the interaction between COBRA and Medicare.
Source: NFP BenefitsPartners