Workers eligible for COBRA continuation coverage when leaving a job may now choose to purchase coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplace. To ensure workers are aware of these changes, the Department of Labor (DOL) has released new forms with updated language.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was concerned that former COBRA Model Election Notices did not address (or did not sufficiently address) Marketplace options for persons eligible for COBRA and COBRA beneficiaries. Thus, these persons may have had insufficient information to understand they could enroll in qualified health plans in the Marketplace during the open enrollment period and special enrollment periods. HHS is providing an additional special enrollment period based on exceptional circumstances. A bulletin clarifying special enrollment periods for persons seeking to enroll in qualified health plans through the federally-facilitated marketplace (FFM) was published on May 2nd.
Affected individuals have 60 days from the date of the bulletin (through July 1, 2014) to select qualified health plans in the FFM. These individuals should contact the Marketplace (1-800-318-2596) to determine if they are eligible for the special enrollment period. If eligible, they can then view plans available to them and continue the enrollment process over the phone or online.
In addition to changes to the COBRA Model General Notice and COBRA Model Election Notice, the DOL released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and frequently asked questions(prepared jointly by the DOL, HHS, and the Treasury) related to the proposed changes. The DOL also issued a revised Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) notice with similar updates related to Marketplace coverage.
To get a copy of the DOL’s newest model notices, visit http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/cobra.html.