DOL issues new COBRA guidance

As people begin to lose their subsidies, a number of issues will crop up for many receiving COBRA coverage. And they’re going to come to you with their questions. Here’s help answering them.
The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a new fact sheet and three new FAQs to address the issues that’ll be created when individuals start to lose their 65% COBRA premium subsidy.
Individuals are only eligible to receive the assistance for 15 months, and the final subsidies will be given out in August 2011. But many individuals will exit the subsidy program much sooner. Once they do, their COBRA coverage may continue for the remainder of the 18-month coverage period — but only if the premium is paid in full.
The DOL’s fact sheet contains tips for COBRA participants and the employers that sponsor plans.
Some of the info that’s included:

  • Plans are not required to remind COBRA participants that they’ve exhausted their subsidy and will no longer be eligible to receive premium assistance.
  • Participants are encouraged to contact their plan if they don’t know when their subsidy eligibility expires or how much their premiums will be.
  • Individuals are also encouraged to call the DOL if they believe their coverage has been canceled for inappropriate reasons.
  • For those who do lose COBRA coverage, other possible coverage options are spelled out.

Info: The new fact sheet can be found here, and the FAQs can be found here.