January 1st is the busiest time of year for Benefit Renewals and changes. Just as the U.S. Department of Labor requires employers to notify their active employees of benefit changes timely in advance, this rule also applies to COBRA participants. COBRA participants must be advised, in writing, of all changes in benefits and/or premium rates. And just as ‘similarly situated active employees’ are allowed the option to make changes in their current benefits and/or elections, COBRA participants must be allowed that option as well. It is also important to remember, if you make a change from one benefit carrier to another, when you ‘roll over’ active employees to the new group plan, don’t forget to move your COBRA participants to the new plan as well. Even though COBRA participants are no longer active employees with your company, once they elected COBRA, they are still tied to your company’s COBRA eligible benefits. Benefit changes that affect your active employees will also need to be communicated to your COBRA participants. And…. Be sure to let your COBRA Administrator know about rate changes so your COBRA participants are billed the correct premiums for the new plan year.
For more information on COBRA requirements, just click on the DOL link provided below: