The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides COBRA premium assistance to eligible individuals through September 30, 2021 and imposes notice requirements on health plans, including a requirement to notify eligible individuals about when their premium assistance ends.
The notice of the premium subsidy expiration must be provided during the 15-to-45-day period before an individual’s subsidy expires. This means for individuals whose subsidy is expiring due to the end of the subsidy period, the notice must generally be provided from August 16, 2021, to September 15, 2021. Otherwise, the due date would have depended on when an individual’s maximum COBRA coverage period ends.
Plans are not required to issue an expiration notice to individuals whose subsidy is expiring because they became eligible for other group health plan coverage or Medicare.
The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a model notice of expiration of premium assistance (Word / PDF) that can be used to satisfy this requirement. The model is also available in Spanish (Word / PDF).
Next Steps for Employers
Employers have various timeframes to provide applicable notices to individuals who may be impacted by the COBRA subsidy and are encouraged to review the DOL’s guidance for additional information and applicable notice timeframes.
Employers who internally administer COBRA will need to ensure the notice is or has been provided timely. Employers who use the services of a third-party administrator (TPA) for COBRA administration should confirm with their TPA that notices have been provided to impact individuals.