Additional Marketplace information is okay to include in COBRA notices

In addition to information required to be sent to qualified COBRA beneficiaries, other information may also be sent about the ACA Marketplaces, according to a recently-issued Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) from the Labor Department (DOL), the HHS, and the IRS. Because qualified beneficiaries may want to consider health coverage alternatives that are available through the Marketplaces and compare them to their COBRA continuation coverage options, especially if they are eligible for premium tax credits, the DOL has a model election notice available at www.dol.gov/ebsa/modelelectionnotice.doc with that information, that plans may use to satisfy the current COBRA notice requirements.

The FAQ assures plan administrators that information such as the following may also be included with a COBRA election notice, as long as it does not make the notice too lengthy or difficult to understand: how to obtain assistance with enrollment, including special enrollment, the availability of financial assistance, information about Marketplace websites and contact information, and general information regarding particular products offered in the Marketplaces. The DOL, HHS, and IRS are encouraging plan administrators to consider how to help individuals maintain coverage that would best suit their needs, and the three agencies point out that election notices may be tailored to certain groups, like young adults who are aging out of their parents’ health plans.

SOURCE: FAQs about Affordable Care Act implementation (Part 32), June 21, 2016.

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