FAQ on COBRA Election Notice

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The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury have collectively issued another FAQ about Affordable Care Act Implementation addressing whether a plan administrator can include in the COBRA election notice additional information about coverage available through the Health Insurance Marketplaces (i.e., the Exchanges).

On May 8, 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued Technical Release 2013-02 that revised the model COBRA notice to include information about the availability of coverage through the Marketplaces.  Until further guidance is issued, the DOL considers an appropriately completed model notice to be good faith compliance with the election notice content requirements of COBRA.

This recent FAQ clarifies that plan administrators may include additional information about the Marketplaces in the election notice, such as:

  • Information on how to obtain enrollment assistance
  • The availability of financial assistance
  • Information about Marketplace websites and contact information
  • General information regarding particular products offered
  • Other information that may help qualified beneficiaries choose between COBRA and other coverage options.

The Departments note the notices must be easily understandable and should avoid being too lengthy.  They can, however, be tailored to particular groups, such as young adults aging out of dependent coverage on their parents’ plan.