COBRA
Subscribe to COBRA's Posts

IRS Provides Further Guidance on COBRA Election and Payment Deadlines

In Notice 2021-58, the Internal Revenue Service clarified that the one-year tolling relief periods for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) elections and initial premium payments run concurrently, not consecutively. This means that a qualified beneficiary generally will have only one year of total disregarded time for the election and initial payment periods.

Read more here.




How to Apply the IRS’s COBRA Premium Subsidy Guidance

On May 18, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued much-anticipated Notice 2021-31 (the Notice) regarding the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) premium subsidy provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). Under ARPA, a 100% COBRA premium subsidy and additional COBRA enrollment rights are available to certain assistance eligible individuals (AEIs) during the period beginning on April 1, 2021, and ending on September 30, 2021.

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has previously issued model notices and a set of FAQs regarding the COBRA premium subsidy. The IRS has now issued additional FAQs in the Notice that apply to employers and plan sponsors­.

Access the article.




IRS Provides Additional COVID-19 Relief for Cafeteria Plans

On February 18, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued clarifying guidance on the temporary special rules for health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and dependent care assistance programs (DCAPs). This provides welcome guidance regarding the application of cafeteria plan relief provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA).

Access the article.




American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Key Healthcare Provisions

On March 10, 2021, US Congress finalized and passed the American Rescue Plan of 2021 (ARPA), the latest COVID-19 relief package that largely tracks President Joe Biden’s initial $1.9 trillion proposal. The ARPA extends unemployment insurance benefits and provides direct $1,400 stimulus payments to qualifying Americans, but it also makes several important health policy-related changes. These include providing funding for vaccine distribution and testing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, making policy adjustments to the Medicaid program, facilitating health insurance coverage and providing more money for healthcare providers. The final bill also makes two narrowly focused technical Medicare payment changes.

This summary highlights notable health policy provisions of the final bill.

Access the summary.

For more information, please contact Meg Gilley, Mara McDermott, Kristen O’Brien, Katie Waldo, Rodney Whitlock or Eric Zimmerman.




COVID-19 Relief Bill Offers COBRA Reform and Temporarily Increases DCAP Maximum

On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) providing Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) reform provisions and an increase in Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) maximum deferrals. While details from the agencies are forthcoming, here is an overview of these provisions of the ARPA.

Access the article.




Free Health Insurance! 100% COBRA Subsidy in COVID Stimulus Package: Questions & Answers

The 100% Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) subsidy in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) means that more than two million laid off Americans will have the option to extend their workplace healthcare insurance for free—temporarily.

In a recent article for Forbes, McDermott partner Judith Wethall outlines what the COBRA subsidy potentially means for employers.

Access the article.




DOL Issues Clarification for ERISA-Governed Group Health Plans

Two days before the one-year anniversary of the official start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the US Department of Labor (DOL) issued a last-minute notice clarifying its prior guidance that relaxed the deadlines for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act-governed group health and welfare plans (ERISA) related to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and various special enrollment and claims procedures.

Access the article.




IRS Delivers COVID-19 Surprise to Workers: A Chance to Redo Their 2021 Health Plan and FSA Choices

Wish you could change your health plan for 2021? In newly released guidance on new flexible rules for healthcare and dependent care Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has included a new COVID-19-relief surprise: Employers can allow employees to make changes prospectively to health care coverage for 2021.

In a recent article in Forbes, McDermott partner Jacob Mattinson explains what the new IRS guidance means for both employers and employees.

Access the article.




Be Sure to Change Furloughs into Layoffs Lawfully

Employers that are converting furloughs into permanent layoffs need to ensure compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act and with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

In a recent article by the Society for Human Resource Management, McDermott partner Carole Spink explains why employers should carefully consider both state and federal regulations—and the importance of clear communication—when converting furloughs into layoffs.

Access the article.




DOL Relaxes Deadlines for ERISA-Governed Group Health Plans

The US Department of Labor, in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service and US Department of the Treasury, issued guidance and deadline extensions applicable to ERISA-governed group health and welfare plans. The guidance provides relief for plan sponsors, plan administrators and plan participants that may be struggling to comply with applicable deadlines and requirements in the midst of the chaos related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Access the full article.




STAY CONNECTED

TOPICS

ARCHIVES