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e-Alert — COVID-19 – Department of Labor Issues Updated COBRA Model Notices

By May 21, 2020No Comments


Since 2014, model COBRA notices have remained the same, until now. The US Department of Labor (DOL) has just released new model notices for group health plan administrators to use to comply with COBRA notification requirements. The updates include the general (or initial) notice of coverage continuation rights and the election notice for electing continued coverage. These notices inform plan participants and beneficiaries of their rights to continued healthcare coverage. The DOL also included FAQs along with the new notices.


The changes in the model COBRA notices and FAQs were issued to help Medicare-eligible individuals better understand what healthcare benefits they qualify for and assist them in making important decisions about their coverage. The new model notices are intended to help qualified beneficiaries better understand the connection between Medicare and COBRA. The notices indicate that there may be advantages to enrolling in Medicare before, or instead of, electing COBRA. They also highlight that if someone is eligible for both COBRA and Medicare, electing COBRA coverage may affect their enrollment in Medicare.

Employers who self-administer COBRA should start using the updated model notices as soon as possible. Employers who use a third-party COBRA administrator should check in with their service provider to ensure the provider was notified of the new updates.

To access the newly issued DOL model notices, please visit the DOL’s website.

Employers Next Steps

  • If HR Knowledge provides your COBRA Administration, we will automatically update the model forms.
  • If you are administering COBRA in-house, please note that the updated model notice does not include language addressing DOL guidance, which was issued earlier last week, which provides additional time for individuals to elect COBRA coverage due to a COVID-19 qualifying event.
  • If you are a client of HR Knowledge and have any questions about this e-Alert please email us.

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This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.