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COBRA Extensions & Relief Guidance

The Department of Labor (DOL) released updated COVID-19 relief guidance in February 2021 for COBRA Qualified Beneficiaries (QBs). The new guidance states that the various COBRA deadlines such as electing coverage and submitting payments are extended for up to one year from the QBs original election deadline.

New Election Deadline

Normally, you must complete and submit your COBRA Continuation Coverage Election Form no later than the date indicated under "Last Day to Elect." The DOL has extended the election period to the earlier of one year beyond the original election deadline or 60 days from the end of the National Emergency (which is currently scheduled to end May 11th). The timeline below shows an example of the new election deadline.

The end of the Outbreak Period (60 days after the end of the National Emergency) will be July 10, 2023.

Due Dates

The new due date for any of the remaining COBRA-related events shown below is the earlier of 1 year from the otherwise applicable due date or:

We encourage you to make your premium payments within the standard timeframes to avoid accruing a large lump-sum payment that will be due all at once. You can pay an amount that is less than the total amount owed under your applicable extension period, but this amount will be applied to cover the earliest months of coverage. Coverage must be continuous; you cannot skip any months of coverage or request alternate payment allocation.

Note: Coverage will not be reinstated until payment is timely received. Checks that are returned for insufficient funds or checks that can't otherwise be cashed do not constitute payment.