The Wagner Law Group Description
Wagner Law Group, A Professional Corporation, is a nationally
recognized ERISA & employee benefits, estate planning,
employment, labor & human resources practice.
in 1996, The Wagner Law Group has 23 attorneys engaged
exclusively in employee benefits, estate planning and
employment law. Seven of our attorneys are AV rated by
Martindale-Hubbell as having very high to preeminent legal abilities
and ethical standards. The firm is among the largest ERISA boutiques
in the country. Our practice is national in scope, with clients in
more than 40 states and several foreign countries.
Wagner Law Group
Fax: (561) 293-3591
7108 Fairway Drive
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
Francisco, CA 94104
West Deerpath Road
Lake Forest, IL 60045
May 8, 2014
State and Federal Law
DOL has released proposed regulations that amend the
COBRA general and election notices. The new COBRA notices contain
information about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's
Health Insurance Marketplaces.
Background. Administrators for group health plans that are subject
to COBRA must issue a number of notices, including: (i) a
"general" notice when a participant initially becomes
covered under the plan; and (ii) an "election" notice when
the participant experiences a COBRA qualifying event.
Revised General Notice. The revised general COBRA notice includes two new
paragraphs referencing coverage options under the Marketplaces that
may be available to individuals who lose their group health coverage
as well as special enrollment options. The notice also includes a
link to the government's Marketplace website (i.e., healthcare.gov).
Revised Election Notice. Many of the substantive updates to the election notice
characterize COBRA continuation coverage as one of several coverage
options available to individuals. The revised election notice
emphasizes that: (i) coverage available under the Marketplaces may
cost significantly less than COBRA coverage; and (ii) it may be
difficult for an individual to switch to another coverage option once
a decision is made.
The revised election notice contains two pages of
Marketplace-related content, including:
- An overview of the
availability of premium tax credits and cost-sharing.
- The 60-day Marketplace
special enrollment period after an individual loses
employment-based group health coverage.
- Options for switching
between COBRA coverage and Marketplace coverage, including a
warning that individuals who terminate COBRA coverage without a
- must wait to enroll in
Marketplace coverage the until next open enrollment period; and
- could therefore be
without health coverage for a significant period of time.
- A list of factors that
individuals should consider in choosing among coverage options (e.g.,
premiums, network access, drug formularies, and cost sharing
Impact on Sponsors of Group Health Plans. Until the regulations are finalized and effective, the
DOL will consider plan administrators' use of the new model notices
as good faith compliance with COBRA's notice content requirements.
Accordingly, plan administrators that have based their COBRA notices
on the DOL model notices are advised to use the updated models.
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hereby inform you that any advice set forth herein with respect to US
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The Wagner Law Group to clients and others who may be interested in the
subject matter, and may not be relied upon as specific legal
advice. This material is not to be construed as legal advice or
legal opinions on specific facts. Under the Rules of the Supreme
Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered