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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  







May 15, 2014


 State and Federal Law Alert




Special Marketplace Enrollment Period for COBRA Beneficiaries




The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS") has released guidance regarding the interplay between COBRA and the Health Insurance Marketplaces established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In particular, the guidance addresses how individuals can transition from COBRA to Marketplace coverage.


Background. COBRA continuation coverage is available to eligible individuals who lose group health coverage due to certain qualifying events (e.g., job loss, divorce, employee death). COBRA coverage is typically expensive and lasts for limited time periods. Conversely, coverage offered via the Marketplace is generally less expensive and continues for as long as the individual is eligible for coverage.


Problem. When an individual elects COBRA coverage, he or she cannot later drop COBRA at any time and enroll in Marketplace coverage. Rather, when COBRA is voluntarily dropped, the individual cannot enroll in Marketplace coverage until the next Marketplace annual open enrollment period.


Many individuals may not have understood the applicable rules and, as a result, may have locked themselves into much more expensive COBRA coverage.


Guidance. CMS has addressed this problem by creating a Marketplace special enrollment periods for COBRA qualified beneficiaries. This limited special enrollment period began on May 2, 2014, and ends July 1, 2014. During the limited special enrollment period, any individual currently receiving COBRA coverage may voluntarily opt out of COBRA and elect a qualified health plan through a Marketplace.


Impact of Guidance. While CMS provides relief in the form of a limited special enrollment period in which individuals can opt out of COBRA coverage and into Marketplace coverage, one drawback is that the relief only applies to the federally-operated Marketplace. CMS, however, has encouraged state-based Marketplaces to provide similar opportunities.


CMS's guidance may be accessed at: http://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Resources/Regulations-and-Guidance/Downloads/SEP-and-hardship-FAQ-5-1-2014.pdf





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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.