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Department of Labor Updates COBRA FAQs and Model Notices

On May 1, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued updated Frequently Asked Questions and revised model notices under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). COBRA is a federal law that permits individuals to continue group health plan coverage for a limited period of time following certain events, such as a termination of employment, that are coupled with a loss of coverage. Employers are required to notify individuals of their rights under COBRA. The changes in the model notices are primarily designed to help Medicare-eligible individuals understand their options for healthcare coverage. The model notices, however, do not include language that addresses DOL relief issued earlier in the week that provides additional time for individuals to elect COBRA coverage through the end of the coronavirus pandemic. Plan sponsors should work with their COBRA vendors and legal counsel to determine whether the model notice updates or coronavirus...

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New Notice Requirements for Retirement Plans Seeking IRS Approval of Church Plan Status

by Ralph E. DeJong, Todd A. Solomon and Patrick D. Ryan Revenue Procedure 2011-44 modifies the procedures for submitting a private letter ruling request that a retirement plan constitutes a church plan to include a requirement that the applicant provide a notice to certain interested persons. The guidance provides rules regarding the timing and method for providing the notice as well as a Model Notice that applicants can modify as required. Letter ruling applicants are required to provide a notice to each plan participant, beneficiary, QDRO alternate payee, and any employee organization representing employees who are plan participants (the interested parties). The notice informs recipients that the plan is not protected by ERISA's statutory protections, including eligibility rules, vesting rules and minimum funding requirements. A request for a letter ruling filed on or after September 26, 2011 must include a copy of the notice along with a statement that the...

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