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The Wagner Law Group Description 

The Wagner Law Group, A Professional Corporation, is a nationally recognized ERISA & employee benefits, estate planning, employment, labor & human resources practice. 

 

Established 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.

 

 

Contact Info

The Wagner Law Group

 

  Integrity | Excellence

  

Massachusetts Office 

Tel: (617) 357-5200 

Fax: (617) 357-5250 

99 Summer Street 

13th Floor

Boston, MA 02110


Florida Office 

Tel: (561) 293-3590
Fax: (561) 293-3591
7108 Fairway Drive
Suite 125
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418

   

San Francisco Office

Tel: (415) 625-0002

Fax: (415) 358-8300

315 Montgomery Street

Suite 904

San Francisco, CA 94104

 

Illinois Office

Tel: (847) 250-1365

Fax: (847) 250-1367

414 West Deerpath Road
Lake Forest, IL  60045  

 

www.wagnerlawgroup.com

 

 

May 8, 2014

 

 State and Federal Law Alert

 

DOL Amends COBRA Notices 

 

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 qualifying event:
    • 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 options). 

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.

 

This Newsletter is protected by copyright. Material appearing herein may be reproduced with appropriate credit.

  

Pursuant to Internal Revenue Service Circular 230, we hereby inform you that any advice set forth herein with respect to US federal tax issues is not intended or written by The Wagner Law Group to be used and cannot be used, by you or any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on you or any other person under the Internal Revenue Code.

 

This Newsletter is provided for information purposes by 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 advertising.