ACA Impacts COBRA

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and the Department of Labor (DOL) recently released information regarding the relationship between COBRA and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The information released contained new proposed regulations on COBRA notice requirements, new model general and election COBRA notices, and a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) describing the relationship between the ACA and COBRA.

New Proposed Regulations
The proposed regulations contain amendments to the COBRA notice requirements provision of Part 6 of title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to better aligned with the ACA guidelines already in effect in addition to any future applicable provisions of federal law.

New Model General and Election Notices
The new model general and election notices released by the DOL contain information about other coverage options available in the Marketplace and the possibility of  lower monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

Prior to the new model notices, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, were concerned that former model notices did not properly address Marketplace options for COBRA eligible persons and their beneficiaries.  Therefore, COBRA eligible persons and their beneficiaries may have had insufficient information about how to enroll in the Marketplace during their open or special enrollment periods.  As a result, the HHS has established a special enrollment period that will allow COBRA participants, in the states covered by the federal exchange to drop COBRA coverage and enroll in Marketplace coverage until July 1, 2014.

FAQs About Affordable Care Act Implications (Part XIX)
The FAQs About Affordable Care Act Implications were prepared jointly by Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury to help people understand the new law and be able to benefit from it.  This series of FAQs answers questions regarding the Affordable Care Act and:

  • COBRA Model Notices,
  • Limitations on Cost-Sharing under the Affordable Care Act,
  • Coverage of Preventive Services,
  • Health FSA Carryover and Excepted Benefits,
  • Summary of Benefits and Coverage

BeneFLEX Has You Covered
1.  BeneFLEX HR has updated its COBRA notices to reflect the addition of Marketplace options.
2. The DOL does not require an employer to mail the one-time special enrollment notice to all participants currently enrolled in COBRA.
3. If you choose to mail the one-time special enrollment notice to participants currently on COBRA, there will be a fee of $12.95 per letter. *For current COBRA clients only.

For questions or additional information about BeneFLEX’s COBRA Services, contact our Customer Service Department at info@beneflexhr.com or (314) 909-6979.
Sincerely,

The BeneFLEX Team