Important Update on COBRA Extensions Related to COVID-19 Legislation
In this ever-changing legislative environment, we are making every effort to keep you as up to date as possible. Below is a guide we put together to identify and help visualize the various timeframes
and a list of actions we are taking to keep your plans compliant with the most recent rulings specifically affecting COBRA.
- We have developed special inserts (or in some cases adjusted a current insert) that will accompany our standard communications going forward.
- COBRA payment statements—the message is twofold:
- For those who are current on payments, it simply explains the extensions.
- For those who did not submit payment for April, it explains that their coverage has not been terminated and that they have additional time to make payment but that they will be retroactively terminated if they fail to make payment by the end of the applicable extension.
Note: After additional research and conversations with our legal counsel since this notice was first sent to clients, we have determined that it is in our clients’ best interest to terminate coverage and communicate that participants do have their coverage reinstated retroactively if they choose to make payment during the Outbreak period.
- COBRA Qualifying Event Notices–the message gives them the applicable extension information, including election and initial payment, but advises that coverage will not be reinstated until we receive both.
- Coupon Books–language has been modified to incorporate the extensions.
- We are updating our General Notices and Qualifying Event Notices to incorporate language that was added to the models earlier this month regarding the relationship between COBRA and Medicare. The new model notices are available on this page. If you would like to see a copy specific to your employees, please contact your Relationship Manager and we will provide the update.
- We are also finalizing several separate communications that we have developed for Qualified Beneficiaries (QB’s). We hope to have these out by the end of this week.
- QB’s who have been notified between March 1, 2020 and today but who have not made an election will be notified that they have additional time to make their election (note that this does not include life insurance for Minnesota clients – see below).
- QB’s who were terminated for lack of payment of March, 2020 premiums will be notified that they can make up the “past-due” premium and have coverage reinstated (note that this does not include life insurance for Minnesota clients – see below).
- QB’s who have elected coverage and have already received coupon books will be notified of the payment extension
Special Note Regarding State Continuation
While the federal regulations have encouraged states to adopt similar extensions, it is not a requirement. We have been working diligently with legal counsel to ensure that we are handling the various state continuation rules appropriately. At this point, we are not aware that any state for which we administer continuation for a specific client has adopted similar rules.
We are NOT including MN life insurance in any of the above notices unless you reach out to us specifically and tell us that you / your life insurance carrier are handling it differently (e.g. leaving life insurance coverage election and payment periods “open” during the extension periods). Please contact your Relationship Manager if you would like us to include MN life insurance in the notices.
Special Note regarding State Continuation
Since we only report eligibility to the various carriers with whom our clients have relationships, we will not be addressing any of the claims filing or appeal extensions in our participant communications. As such, you may want to contact your carrier to determine how they will handle these extensions.
As always, we are committed to providing exceptional service by keeping you abreast of the latest regulations as they affect the benefits that we administer on your behalf. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your Relationship Manager if you have any questions or other feedback.
Thank you for your partnership!
ThrivePass is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice. This is not a legal document, and all employers should check with their benefits attorney before taking any action.