It goes by several different names: Specific Rights Notice, Qualifying Event Notice, Election Notice, COBRA Offering Packet and more. Regardless of which name you use, the rules and regulations are the same, and the fines for not following those rules are costly. A slight misstep can run you up to $200 per day plus damages and attorney’s fees. Now that certainly doesn’t smell as sweet.
- What is it? A notice that provides eligible members information about their COBRA options, costs, rights and obligations.
- Who receives it? Anyone (employee, spouse or dependents) who lost plan coverage in connection with a COBRA qualifying event.
- When is it sent? Employers have 14 days to send this notice. However, if employers outsource COBRA administration, they have 44 days to send the notice.
As an employer, your legal obligation is to provide the notice on a timely basis. When sending the notice, it is important that you have proof that it was sent and when it was sent. That is why it is NOT advised to hand out this paperwork during an exit interview.
Keep in mind, with COBRA, it’s not just what you do, but what you can prove that’s paramount.
- Not sure if you can prove you provided the paperwork?
- Unsure if the notice was mailed timely or not?
- Are you unclear on 14 days, 44 days, and what starts the countdown?
If these challenges are taking up a lot of your time, we can help! This is what we do all day everyday and we would love to help reduce your COBRA liability today. Give us a call at (800) 865-4485.