In April, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL) issued a joint notice providing for the extension of COBRA election and premium payments. The Notice stated that certain deadlines under COBRA, from the period beginning March 1, 2020, and ending 60 days following the announced end of the National Emergency (“outbreak period”) generally must be disregarded. Employers should keep in mind that these extensions still apply, and there currently is not a specified date as to when the outbreak period will be declared over.
Next Steps for Employers
Employers should review their COBRA notices and ensure that the extension timeframes are properly reflected in the notices. The model notices provided by the DOL do not reflect the outbreak period timeframes and relying solely on the DOL’s templates may create some compliance issues. Plan administrators should consult with their third-party administrator, broker or legal counsel on necessary updates to their COBRA notices and what information should be communicated to participants and their beneficiaries regarding the extension deadlines.