The U.S. Department of Labor released updated model notice packages to enable
group health plans and employers to provide notice on the availability of the
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act continuation coverage premium
reductions under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through March 31.
The Temporary Extension Act amended the Recovery Act's COBRA premium reduction
provisions by extending the eligibility period through March 2010 and modifying
the definition of assistance-eligible individuals to include individuals who
were involuntarily terminated after first losing health coverage related to
having their hours of work reduced. The subsidy allows individuals to pay only
35 percent of their COBRA premiums; the remaining 65 percent is reimbursed
to the employer through a tax credit.
"With the passage of the Temporary Extension Act, millions of Americans
and their families will be able to keep important health benefit coverage during these challenging economic times. The new eligibility criteria make it possible for many more to qualify for continuation health coverage," said Phyllis C. Borzi, assistant secretary of the Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration.
The department updated two of its existing models and developed several new models to cover various situations faced by dislocated workers and their families.
- An updated model general notice.
- A model new election period notice.
- A model extended election period notice.
- A model supplemental information notice.
- An updated model alternative notice.