3.23.10

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued revised model COBRA notices due to the most recent changes affecting the COBRA subsidy originally enacted by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The Temporary Extension Act of 2010 (TEA) extended the period during which an individual could qualify for the subsidy through March 31, 2010. Additionally, TEA, unlike ARRA, allows individuals whose first qualifying event was a reduction in hours but were later terminated during the period from March 2, 2010 through March 31, 2010 to qualify for the subsidy.

The DOL has posted the new notices on their website (www.dol.gov/cobra). The notices are detailed on the chart below.

Notice

Who Should Receive This Notice

Updated Model General Notice

All qualified beneficiaries who experience a qualifying event at any time from September 1, 2008 through March 31, 2010, regardless of the type of qualifying event, and who have not yet been provided an election notice.

Model Notice of New Election Period

All individuals who experience a qualifying event that was a reduction in hours at any time from September 1, 2008 – March 31, 2010; subsequently experience a termination of employment at any point from March 2, 2010 through March 31, 2010; and

either did not elect continuation coverage when it was first offered or elected but subsequently discontinued coverage.

Model Supplemental Information Notice

All individuals who elected and maintained continuation coverage based on the following qualifying events – terminations of employment that occurred at some point on or after March 1, 2010 for which notice of availability of the premium reduction available under ARRA was not given; or reductions of hours that occurred during the period from September 1, 2008 through March 31, 2010 which were followed by a termination of the employee’s employment that occurred on or after March 2, 2010 and by March 31, 2010.

Model Notice of Extended Election Period

Individuals who experienced a qualifying event that was a termination of employment at some time on or after March 1, 2010; were provided notice that did not inform them of their rights under ARRA, as amended by TEA; and either chose not to elect COBRA continuation coverage at that time or elected COBRA but subsequently discontinued that coverage.

Model Updated Alternative Notice (for plans that provide continuation coverage pursuant to state law)

All qualified beneficiaries who have experienced a qualifying event through March 31, 2010.

The notices will need to be modified to fit your individuals plans. If you need assistance in modifying the notices or would like your notices reviewed, please contact Dana Thrasher (205-226- 5464), Dave Pearson (813-222-1367), Bob Ellerbrock (205-226-5462), or Jay Turner (205-226-5468).

IRS Circular 230 Notice: Federal regulations apply to written communications (including emails) regarding federal tax matters between our firm and our clients. Pursuant to these federal regulations, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by the addressee or any other person or entity for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code.

Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP has counseled employers on labor and employment law matters, exclusively, since 1946. A “Go To” Law Firm in Corporate Counsel and Fortune Magazine, it represents Fortune 500 corporations and small companies across the country. Its attorneys are consistently rated as top lawyers in their practice areas by publications such as Chambers USA, Super Lawyers, and Top One Hundred Labor Attorneys in the United States. More than 100 lawyers partner with clients to provide cost-effective legal services and sound preventive advice to enhance the employer-employee relationship. Offices are located in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Virginia, Massachusetts, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas and California. For more information, visit www.constangy.com.

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