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ARPA: COBRA Subsidy Special Election Notice (due by 5/31)


Note: This resource addresses only the Notice in Connection with Extended Election Period, due to eligible individuals no later than May 31, 2021. For overview resources on the premium subsidy and other required notices, visit SHRM's ARPA's COBRA Premium Subsidy Express Request.

Under the American Rescue Plan Act, the federal government will pay 100 percent of COBRA insurance premiums for eligible employees who lost their jobs and for their covered relatives through September 2021, allowing them to stay on their company-sponsored health plan. President Joe Biden signed it into law on March 11.

The Notice in Connection with Extended Election Period and Summary of COBRA Premium Assistance must be sent to assistance eligible individuals (AEIs) who are still in their 18-month COBRA window in April 2021. "For plans that terminate coverage on the last day of the month, this will be anyone who was involuntarily terminated or lost coverage due to a reduction in hours on or after Oct. 1, 2019," Barnett said. The notice is due to eligible employees before May 31, "whether the individual is currently enrolled in COBRA, previously declined COBRA or enrolled and later dropped COBRA," she explained.

DOL Issues COBRA Subsidy Guidance and Model Notices
SHRM | Apr 2021

Model Notice in Connection with Extended Election Period 
Summary of COBRA Premium Assistance Provisions under the American Rescue Plan Act
DOL | Apr 2021

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Law Firm Articles

Employers subject to COBRA must act soon to compile lists of eligible individuals and comply with notice requirements to inform those eligible of the right to the subsidy (by May 31, 2021) and later that the subsidy is coming to an end.
Employers Must Take Action on Temporary COBRA Subsidy by May 31, 2021
Davis Wright Tremaine | Apr 2021

The plan administrator must send a special election notice to these individuals by May 31, 2021. The special COBRA election period begins on April 1, 2021 and ends 60 days after the notice is provided to the individual. (Although some of the DOL notices and FAQs note that the 60-day period runs from the date of receipt, we understand that the DOL did not intend to revise the regular COBRA rules, which key the election deadline off of the date notice is "provided").  The packet sent to these individuals should include the Model Notice in Connection with Extended Election Period tailored to reflect the specific facts and circumstances, along with the Summary of COBRA Premium Assistance Provisions under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which explains the COBRA subsidy and includes an election form and a form for the individual to notify the plan if they become ineligible for the subsidy due to eligibility for other coverage.
ARP COBRA Subsidy Special Election Opportunity: Who Gets a Second Bite at the Apple, and How Do They Take It?
Proskauer | Apr 2021

A notice of a special COBRA election for qualified beneficiaries who incurred an involuntary termination of employment or a reduction in hours prior to April 1, 2021 and whose maximum COBRA election period (typically 18 months) has not expired, which generally means qualifying events prior to October 1, 2019. This notice is required by May 31, 2021, which is 60 days from the April 1, 2021 start date for premium assistance. An employer is not required to send notice of the special extended COBRA election period to individuals who do not satisfy the criteria listed above.
May 31, 2021 Notice Deadline Approaching for New COBRA Subsidy Relief
Dickinson Wright | Apr 2021

Other Required Notices
Due to tight timelines and an initial sprint to issue the special extended COBRA election period notices by the May 31st deadline, plan administrators may not have focused on the other COBRA-related notice requirements under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP). This blog post focuses on these other notices – for individuals who become entitled to COBRA coverage on or after April 1st, and for individuals approaching the end of their ARP-subsidized coverage period.
You've Sent the COBRA Special Extended Election Period Notices – What's Next?
Proskauer | Apr 2021

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