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Category Archives: COBRA

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An Additional Word from IRS Regarding the ARP COBRA Subsidy

The IRS just released some new supplemental guidance on the COBRA premium subsidy in the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARP”). IRS Notice 2021-46, released July 26, 2021 provides additional color on a handful of discrete subsidy issues that had been addressed in earlier guidance but still caused some confusion. The guidance, in Q&A format, addresses: … Continue Reading

A Practical Guide to Claiming the COBRA Premium Assistance Tax Credit

Over the last few months, employers and plan administrators have concentrated on identifying qualifying individuals eligible for COBRA premium assistance under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”), sending out proper notices, and collecting election forms. Now that the dust has settled on the first round of election notices, employers and plans have turned … Continue Reading

Calculating the ARP COBRA Premium Subsidy Tax Credit

On May 18, 2021, the IRS released Notice 2021-31 (the “Notice”) providing guidance on the temporary 100% COBRA premium subsidy under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”), summarized generally here.  The Notice addresses how to calculate the premium subsidy and the corresponding tax credit available to premium payees, as well as the rules … Continue Reading

A Word from the IRS on Involuntary Terminations of Employment for Purposes of the ARP COBRA Premium Subsidy

One important question that arises when determining whether an individual is eligible for the COBRA premium subsidy under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”) is whether the employee has experienced an involuntary termination of employment.  (See our prior blogs on the ARP subsidy, here.) The IRS’s recent Notice 2021-31 (the “Notice”) provides helpful … Continue Reading

Guide to New IRS Guidance on COBRA Premium Subsidy

On May 18, 2021, the IRS released Notice 2021-31, which provides implementation guidance on the COBRA premium subsidy available under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP).  As discussed in our prior blog posts, ARP includes a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for qualifying individuals during periods of COBRA continuation coverage from April 1, 2021 … Continue Reading

The Wait is Over: Treasury and IRS Release COBRA Premium Subsidy Guidance

Today, the Treasury Department and the IRS released detailed questions and answers providing guidance on various implementation issues related to the COBRA premium subsidy under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP). By way of background, ARP includes a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for qualifying individuals during periods of coverage from April 1, 2021 … Continue Reading

You’ve Sent the COBRA Special Extended Election Period Notices – What’s Next?

Due to tight timelines and an initial sprint to issue the special extended COBRA election period notices by the May 31st deadline, plan administrators may not have focused on the other COBRA-related notice requirements under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP). This blog post focuses on these other notices – for individuals who become entitled … Continue Reading

ARP COBRA Subsidy Special Election Opportunity: Who Gets a Second Bite at the Apple, and How Do They Take It?

The American Rescue Plan (“ARP”) offers a special 60-day election period for certain individuals who previously declined or discontinued COBRA coverage (“Assistance Eligible Individuals” or “AEIs,” as defined in ARP). These individuals may elect COBRA coverage prospectively, beginning April 1st, at no cost, as long as they are not eligible for Medicare or other group … Continue Reading

All Good Subsidies Must Come to an End: ARP’s Expiration Notice Requirements

As mentioned in our earlier posts, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”) provides a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for continuation coverage between April 1 and September 30, 2021 for certain assistance eligible individuals (“AEIs”).  As employers and plan administrators prepare to educate AEIs about this subsidy, they cannot overlook another necessary notice:  a … Continue Reading

DOL Releases COBRA Premium Subsidy Model Notices – With a Few Surprises

Immediate Action Required As discussed in our prior posts, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”) requires that plan administrators distribute new COBRA notices advising individuals of their possible rights to a COBRA premium subsidy.  Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor released new COBRA premium subsidy model notices and FAQs explaining how that is … Continue Reading

ARPA COBRA Subsidy – Special Second Election Period (Two Bites at the Apple and Some Additional Food for Thought)

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) provides a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for “assistance eligible individuals” for periods of coverage occurring between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021, as summarized here.  An “assistance eligible individual” includes any qualified beneficiary who is eligible for COBRA coverage as a direct result of a covered … Continue Reading

Some Family Members May Not Be Eligible for the ARPA COBRA Premium Subsidy

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) includes a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for “assistance eligible individuals,” for periods of coverage occurring between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021, as described in earlier blog posts.  An “assistance eligible individual” is any COBRA “qualified beneficiary” who loses group health coverage on account of a … Continue Reading

ARPA COBRA Subsidy – When is a Termination of Employment Involuntary?

As we previously explained in our prior blogs, both here and here, on the new COBRA subsidy rules, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”), includes a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for periods of coverage occurring between April 1 and September 30, 2021.  The subsidy is available to qualified beneficiaries who are eligible for … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Includes Six Months of Free COBRA Health Coverage

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”), which was just passed by Congress and will be sent to President Biden for signature, includes an opportunity for free COBRA coverage for a six-month period from April through September 2021 for employees (and their family members) who experience a loss of group health coverage due to … Continue Reading

COBRA Subsidies for Involuntary Termination or Reduction in Hours – What is Old is New Again

There is an old saying – “People with weak stomachs should not watch sausage or legislation being made.”  A great application of that aphorism is seen in the current COBRA subsidy proposed legislation making its way through Congress. The idea is simple – if people need continuing health care coverage (COBRA coverage) because they are … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Claim Arising from Incorrectly Addressed COBRA Notice

In Vangas v. Montefiore Medical Center, 2016 WL 2909354 (2d Cir. May 19, 2016), the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s holding that an employer is not liable for failing to provide a COBRA notice to a terminated employee under ERISA § 502(c) where the employer followed reasonable procedures to ensure that notices were properly … Continue Reading

Same-Sex Spouse Has No Standing to Assert COBRA Notice Claim

A New Jersey federal district court held (in an unpublished opinion) that a former plan participant’s same-sex spouse who never enrolled in the benefit plan did not have standing to assert a claim alleging that his spouse’s employer failed to provide proper and timely notice of coverage under COBRA.… Continue Reading

New Guidance on COBRA and ACA Marketplace Coverage: The Gap in Coverage is (Not Quite) Filled

There has been much confusion and concern about the interplay between the COBRA continuation coverage rules and the new Health Insurance Marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act (the “Marketplace”). One important question has been how individuals could transition from COBRA continuation coverage to (often cheaper) Marketplace coverage. Also, many individuals are confused about whether … Continue Reading

DOL Updates Model COBRA Notice in Light of Health Care Reform

Come 2014, the Health Insurance Exchanges will provide another option to COBRA “qualified beneficiaries” who are considering whether to elect to continue health coverage under an employer’s group plan. In an effort to ensure that qualified beneficiaries understand this option, the U.S. Department of Labor has revised its model COBRA Election Notice to refer specifically … Continue Reading
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