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The Overlooked COBRA Notice

Did you know that one of the most important COBRA notices is the “General Rights Notice” or what is referred to as the “Initial Rights Notice”? Properly providing this notice is frequently overlooked by employers or the method of delivery does not meet COBRA compliance regulations.

  • What is it? A DOL required mailing sent to plan participants that details their rights and responsibilities should a future COBRA event occur. It also transfers the legal COBRA responsibilities from the employer to the participants.
  • Who receives it? Covered employees and covered spouses.
  • When is it due? Within 90 days after coverage begins.
  • What if we mess up? With penalties of up to $110 per day in addition to unending COBRA litigation liability, it’s always best to fix it right away.

Often employers mistakenly provide the initial notice by hand delivery or in SPD mailings. Although common, these notification methods increase an employer’s exposure to future liability because there is no proof the notice was sent to the employee’s covered spouse. For more details on the covered spouse notification, check out our “Yikes…did you forget the spouse?? “ article.

A onetime “Catch-up” mailing can ensure covered employees and spouses have been given the initial COBRA notice in a timely and accurate manner which will eliminate future disputes, facilitate smooth COBRA administration, and help reduce overall COBRA benefits costs.

Give us a call today at (800) 865-4485 if you’d like more details on a one-time catch-up mailing or complete COBRA outsourcing. This is what we do all day everyday and we would love to help reduce your COBRA liability today.

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