Many employers are becoming confused amidst the COVID-19 extensions and COBRA deadlines. We are seeing a changing workforce, along with a spike in retirement, layoffs, and furloughs. These events are causing employers to be met with COBRA rules more than ever. If you are confused, don’t worry! We outlined the rules in the following posting and we are always just a click away.
COVID-19 and COBRA: The Rules
The Federal government has extended certain COBRA deadlines for both group health plans and their plan members due to the current pandemic. These extensions were in response to the national emergency with respect to the coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak (“National Emergency”). The government has provided that the period starting March 1, 2020, and ending 60 days after the announced end of the National Emergency is the “Outbreak Period”. The government has not yet identified the end date of the National Emergency, and thus the end date of the Outbreak Period currently remains unknown.
It is possible there will be different Outbreak Period end dates for different parts of the country. Consequently, (i) any of the following COBRA time periods that began before March 1, 2020, but did not expire prior to March 1 are suspended until the end of the Outbreak Period; and (ii) the start date of any of the following COBRA time periods that would otherwise begin on or after March 1 are also postponed until the end of the Outbreak Period:
- The deadline to notify your group health plan of a qualifying event;
- . The 60-day deadline for plan participants to elect COBRA;
- The deadline for individuals to notify the plan of a determination of disability;
- The 14-day deadline for plan administrators to furnish COBRA election notices; and
- The 45-day deadline in which to make the first premium payment and a 30-day deadline for subsequent premium payments.
By way of example, if you are receiving a COBRA Election Form on or after March 1, 2020, you need not complete and return it until 60 days after the end of the Outbreak Period, because the Outbreak period is disregarded when determining the deadline to submit the Election Form. Similarly, COBRA premium payments that would otherwise have been due by the applicable 30 day grace period are now due within 30 days after the end of the Outbreak Period.
During these times, it’s important to stay attentive to the details. We are always here to help, so if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We will always be here to help, whether it’s digitally, or face to face!
PF Compass works with clients who primarily reside up and down the Eastern Corridor. We work with all types of businesses, large and small, across a wide range of industries. Over the years we have created a reputation of providing quality group benefits and unmatched service for all our clients. As a result, we are proud to say that many of our clients have become loyal and continue to work with us for years to come.