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Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
Does your plan administrator provide a proper general notice describing COBRA rights to each covered employee and each covered spouse of a covered employee within the required timeframes?
Plan administrators must give each covered employee and each covered spouse of the covered employee a general notice describing COBRA rights. The general notice must be provided within the first 90 days of coverage or within 90 days after which the plan becomes subject to COBRA. (However, if a qualifying event occurs for a qualified beneficiary within those 90 days, the general notice must be provided at the same time the plan administrator is required to provide an election notice.) Plan administrators can satisfy this requirement by including the general notice in the planís summary plan description (SPD) and giving the SPD to the employee and to the covered spouse within this time limit.
The general notice must include:
The Department of Labor has developed a model general notice that is intended to assist plan administrators of single-employer group health plans in satisfying the general notice requirement. Use of this model notice is not mandatory. However, in order to use it, a plan administrator must appropriately add relevant information where indicated in the model notice, select among alternative language, and supplement the model notice to reflect applicable plan provisions. Items of information that are not applicable to a particular plan may be deleted. Use of the model general notice, appropriately modified and supplemented, will be considered by the Department to satisfy the general notice content requirements of COBRA for single-employer group health plans. This model notice must be modified if used to provide notice with respect to other types of group health plans, such as multiemployer plans or plans established and maintained by employee organizations for their members.
The Department of Labor also has developed a general notice in Spanish.