News & Events

COBRA Deadline Extensions

As a result of the massive disruption to businesses due to COVID-19, the federal government passed a notice to address COBRA deadlines during this national emergency. On May 1, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issued Notice 2020-1, which creates an extension to the deadlines in conjunction with COBRA election, enrollment, and payment. This extension puts a stoppage on the deadline for COBRA election, enrollment, and payment during the period beginning March 1, 2020 until 60 days after the end of the national emergency.

What Are the COBRA Deadlines?

Under the pre-Notice guidelines, members had to follow strict deadlines in regards to COBRA:

  • 60 days to elect COBRA continuation coverage
    • The later of date of coverage termination or date of notification
  • 45 days to retroactively make the first month’s COBRA premium payment
  • 30 days to make monthly COBRA premium payments
  • 60 days to notify the employer of a COBRA qualifying event

During this Emergency Period (and 60 days after), the deadlines listed above are halted effective March 1, 2020. During this time, members are not required to meet the COBRA deadlines in order to remain eligible for COBRA coverage.

 

FAQ’s

What is the end date of the emergency period?

As it stands, there is no end to the emergency period. This notice is treated as an indefinite measure until further determination is made.

Do the COBRA coverage periods change?

The COBRA coverage periods remain at 18, 29, 36 months and are unaffected by this emergency period.

If I want coverage during the emergency period, do I have to make payments?

Payments do not have to be made during the emergency period, but will have to be made-up following the end of the emergency period + 60 days if members wish to be covered during the emergency period.

What is an example of how deadlines are effected by Notice 2020-1?

Hypothetical Scenario: Emergency Period = March 1, 2020 – May 31, 2020

  • 60 Day COBRA Election Period
    • Begins on February 1, 2020
    • Temporarily Suspended March 1, 2020 – July 30, 2020 (60 days after the emergency period ends)
    • Resumes on July 31, 2020
    • Ends on August 31, 2020