Richmond, Va. (PRWEB) July 11, 2014
On May 2, 2014, the Department of Labor (DOL) provided an updated model general notice and model election notice for COBRA and earlier this month Experient Health, a Virginia Farm Bureau company, detailed the changes on its Blog, which aims to keep the community informed about health insurance changes impacting businesses and individuals.
The updated model of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) notices reflect that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Exchanges are now open and describe special enrollment rights for Exchange coverage, Experient Health wrote.
Employers are not required to use the DOL’s model COBRA notices.
"However, use of the model notices (appropriately completed) will be considered by the DOL to be good faith compliance with COBRA’s notice content requirements," Experient Health wrote. "Also, providing information about Exchange plan coverage may help individuals make informed decisions about their health coverage."
On April 21, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also issued answers to frequently asked questions clarifying when a COBRA qualified beneficiary may enroll in a qualified health plan (QHP) through an Exchange and receive subsidies for that QHP coverage.
Under the ACA, individuals may enroll through the Exchanges only during an annual open enrollment or a special enrollment period (SEP), Experient Health wrote.
When initially eligible for COBRA coverage, an individual qualifies for an SEP for the Exchange. In general, once an individual has elected COBRA coverage, he or she can switch to a plan through the Exchange only during an annual open enrollment period or after the COBRA coverage is exhausted.
Because COBRA qualified beneficiaries may not have understood their Exchange enrollment rights, HHS created an additional SEP. This additional SEP allows COBRA beneficiaries to enroll in QHPs through the federally-facilitated Exchange (FFE) until July 1, 2014.
To read more about the ways that COBRA guidelines have been implemented, visit the Experient Health Blog here.
Experient Health is the health insurance arm of the Virginia Farm Bureau and has health benefits consultants, well versed in health care reform, who work with individuals and businesses across the Commonwealth.