DOL Updates Model COBRA Notice in Light of Health Care Reform

Come 2014, the Health Insurance Exchanges will provide another option to COBRA “qualified beneficiaries” who are considering whether to elect to continue health coverage under an employer’s group plan. In an effort to ensure that qualified beneficiaries understand this option, the U.S. Department of Labor has revised its model COBRA Election Notice to refer specifically to the availability of the Exchanges. The updated Notice also includes other revisions related to health care reform. For example, the updated notice reflects the ACA’s prohibition on preexisting condition exclusions and eliminates the prior model language relating to the Health Coverage Tax Credit, which will expire as of January 1, 2014. The updated notice (including a redlined version showing the updates) can be found here: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/modelelectionnotice.doc (model notice not redlined); http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/modelelectionnoticeredline.doc (redlined version); http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/tr13-02.html (guidance on updated COBRA notice).