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Affordable Care Act (ACA) & COBRA | Two things to consider

As the deadlines approach for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), here are important topics related to COBRA administration:

1. Revised COBRA Election Notice

Our COBRA Specific Rights Notice will be adjusted to reflect the changes proposed by the Department of Labor (DOL).  This means that as of January 1, 2014:

  • All references to pre-existing condition exclusion (PCE) will be removed from your Specific Rights Notice.
  • The Health Insurance Marketplace wording suggested by the DOL will be added to your Specific Rights Notice.
  • The DOL information will be updated to reflect their new contact information.

Note:  There has been some debate if the DOL implied a January 1, 2014 or October 1, 2013 deadline for these changes to be in place.  At this point there has been no clarification issued by the DOL on this topic.  Considering that PCE will be in place through the end of 2013, our internal counsel has advised we adjust the wording effective January 1, 2014.

2.  Marketplace Notices

The DOL is requiring most employers to mail a marketplace notice to ALL employees (full-time and part-time, whether or not they are benefit-eligible) by October 1, 2013 and thereafter within 14 days of hire.

  • 10/1/13 Notification Requirement:  Our legal counsel has advised us that the notice is not required to be sent to current COBRA participants.
  • Ongoing Thereafter:  At this time, we do not advise adding this notice to your COBRA Initial Rights (new hire) notices as timing and recipients are not the same. However, accommodations can be made upon request.

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