Due to the insurance exchanges created by the health reform law, the DOL felt the current model COBRA notices needed a makeover. And the changes it made could have a distinct benefit for Finance.
The agency posted both an updated COBRA Model General Notice and a COBRA Model Election Notice, both of which contain info on the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Other options available
Like employer-sponsored health plans, individuals can sign up – at any point during the year, not just open enrollment – for healthcare coverage in the state or federal-run exchange marketplace if they experience a qualifying life event, such as having a baby, losing their current health coverage (in some circumstances) or moving.
The newly updated COBRA notices also clarify that individuals can sign up for insurance coverage in the marketplace if they experience the type of event that would qualify them for COBRA continuation coverage, especially when their employment is terminated.
With the updated COBRA notices, the DOL is trying to let people know that they also have the option of purchasing coverage on an exchange, potentially with the help of a government subsidy.
As for employers, getting departing staffers off of their COBRA rolls will definitely help when it comes time to renegotiate rates with their insurance carriers.