Appeals of Cobra Premium Assistance Denials to be Handled by New Services Provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

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For expedited reviews of COBRA premium assistance denials, former federal and state workers can now use a new website and hotline launched by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS"). The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ("ARRA") provided for, among other things, an expedited review of the denial of benefits when an individual's former group health plan denies eligibility for COBRA premium assistance. Under the ARRA, the CMS processes all requests for review that are filed by federal government employees, employees of state and local governments, and individuals covered by state continuation coverage laws that apply to employers with fewer than 20 employees (also known as "mini-COBRA" programs). Last week, CMS launched a website, http://www.ContinuationCoverage.net, and a toll free hotline, 1-866-400-6689, that unemployed workers in these categories can use to request an expedited review of their former employer's denial of eligibility for COBRA premium assistance.

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