Skip to page content
Employee Benefits Security Administration

EBSA Federal Register Notice

Proposed Extension of Information Collection Request Submitted for Public Comment; Final Rule on Health Care Continuation Coverage [04/09/2007]

[PDF Version]

Volume 72, Number 67, Page 17588-17589

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employee Benefits Security Administration

 
Proposed Extension of Information Collection Request Submitted 
for Public Comment; Final Rule on Health Care Continuation Coverage

AGENCY: Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Department of Labor (the Department), in accordance with 
the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA 95) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), 
provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to 
comment on proposed and continuing collections of information. This 
helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection 
requirements and minimize the reporting burden on the public and helps 
the public understand the Department's information collection 
requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. 
Currently, the Employee Benefits Security Administration is soliciting 
comments on the proposed extension of the information collection 
provisions of its final rule at 29 CFR Part 2590, Health Care 
Continuation Coverage. A copy of the information collection request 
(ICR) may be obtained by contacting the office listed in the ADDRESSES 
section of this notice.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted to the office shown in the 
ADDRESSES section on or before June 8, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Joseph S. Piacentini, Department of Labor, Employee Benefits 
Security Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 
20210, (202) 693-8410, FAX (202) 693-4745 (these are not toll-free 
numbers).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    The continuation coverage provisions of section 601 through 608 of 
ERISA (and parallel provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (Code)) 
generally require group health plans to offer qualified beneficiaries' 
the opportunity to elect continuation coverage following certain events 
that would otherwise result in the loss of coverage. Continuation 
coverage is a temporary extension of the qualified beneficiary's 
previous group health coverage. The right to elect continuation 
coverage allows individuals to maintain group health coverage under 
adverse circumstances and to bridge gaps in health coverage that 
otherwise could limit their access to health care.
    COBRA provides the Secretary of Labor (the Secretary) with 
authority under section 608 of ERISA to carry out the continuation 
coverage provisions. The Conference Report that accompanied COBRA 
divided interpretive authority over the COBRA provisions between the 
Secretary and the Secretary of the Treasury (the Treasury) by providing 
that the Secretary has the authority to issue regulations implementing 
the notice and disclosure requirements of COBRA, while the Treasury is 
authorized to issue regulations defining the required continuation 
coverage.
    On May 26, 2004, the Department of Labor (the Department) published 
in the Federal Register (69 FR 30084) final regulations governing the 
timing, content, and administration of the notice obligations arising 
under ERISA. These final rules implementing the notice requirements of 
the COBRA provisions of ERISA also apply for purposes of the parallel 
Code provisions.
    This recordkeeping requirement constitutes an information 
collection within the meaning of the PRA, for which the Department has 
obtained approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under 
OMB Control No. 1210-0123. The OMB approval is currently scheduled to 
expire on July 31, 2007.

II. Current Actions

    This notice requests public comment pertaining to the Department's 
request for extension of OMB approval of the information collection 
contained in its final rule at 29 CFR 2590, Health Care Continuation 
Coverage. After considering comments received in

[[Page 17589]]

response to this notice, the Department intends to submit an ICR to OMB 
for continuing approval. No change to the existing ICR is proposed or 
made at this time. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person 
is not required to respond to, an information collection unless it 
displays a valid OMB control number. A summary of the ICR and the 
current burden estimates follows:
    Agency: Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of 
Labor.
    Title: Notice Requirements of the Health Care Continuation Coverage 
Provisions.
    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection of 
information.
    OMB Number: 1210-0123.
    Affected Public: Individuals or households; Business or other for-
profit; Not-for-profit institutions.
    Respondents: 411,000.
    Frequency of Responses: On occasion.
    Responses: 9,225,900.
    Estimated Total Burden Hours: None
    Estimated Total Burden Cost (Operating and Maintenance): 
$14,723,400.
    Estimated Total Annualized Cost: $16,379,900.

III. Desired Focus of Comments

    The Department of Labor (Department) is particularly interested in 
comments that:
     Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is 
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, 
including whether the information will have practical utility;
     Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the 
burden of the proposed collection of information, including the 
validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
     Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
     Minimize the burden of the collection of information on 
those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate 
automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., by 
permitting electronic submissions of responses.
    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized 
and/or included in the ICR for OMB approval of the extension of the 
information collection; they will also become a matter of public 
record.

    Dated: April 3, 2007.
Bradford P. Campbell,
Acting Assistant Secretary, Employee Benefits Security Administration.
[FR Doc. E7-6554 Filed 4-6-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-29-P