New Cobra Notices Promote Health Insurance Marketplace - DoctorsManagement New Cobra Notices Promote Health Insurance Marketplace - DoctorsManagement

New Cobra Notices Promote Health Insurance Marketplace

By Philip Dickey, MPH, PHR | May 15, 2014

New COBRA Notices Promote Health Insurance Marketplace

The Obama administration announced on May 2 updates to model notices that employers must provide to employees, informing workers of their eligibility to continue health care coverage through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

The Department of Labor (DOL) on May 2, 2014, released a new model general notice form and model election notice form for providing COBRA notices to employees.

The updated notices make it clear to workers that if they are eligible for COBRA continuation coverage when leaving a job, they may choose to instead purchase coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplace, as the government-run exchange is formally known.

Employees directed to the public exchange/Marketplace, where they may qualify for federal subsidies, are less likely to feel they need to pay the full premium to continue with their former employer’s health coverage through COBRA.

The DOL, along with the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury, also published frequently asked questions related to the proposed changes to model notices. The FAQs are cross-posted on the DOL website.

In addition, HHS published a clarifying bulletin regarding a special enrollment period in the Marketplace for individuals already enrolled in COBRA continuation coverage and COBRA qualified beneficiaries (typically the departing employee’s spouse and children).