The Plan Administrator, which is often the employer, has the obligation to send the initial COBRA notice to the covered employee (and his or her spouse, if any) when the employee (and spouse, if any) becomes covered under the group health plan.189 The initial COBRA notice (sometimes referred to as the “General Notice”) contains general information about participants’ COBRA rights and obligations.190 The Plan Administrator must deliver a General Notice to the participant within 90 days after coverage begins that contains the following items:
- the plan name and address and the name, address, and telephone number of a party from whom additional information about the plan and COBRA continuation coverage can be obtained;
- a general description of COBRA continuation coverage;
- a description of qualified beneficiaries’ obligations to provide a qualifying event notice to the Plan Administrator and related procedures (for example, notification of a divorce or child reaching maximum age for coverage)
- a description of qualified beneficiaries’ disability notice requirements and related procedures;
- an explanation of the importance of participants/qualified beneficiaries to keep the Plan Administrator informed of their current address; and
- a statement that more complete information regarding COBRA continuation coverage rights is available from the Plan Administrator and from the plan SPD.191
COBRA General Notice Sample
Employers and Plan Administrators are cautioned that this Notice will require tailoring to the particular group health plan. The employer or Plan Administrator should consult with legal counsel for revisions prior to use.
CREDITS: This is an excerpt from An Employer’s Guide to Employment Issues in Minnesota, provided by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development & Linquist & Vennum P.L.L.P., Tenth Edition, 2009. Copies are available without charge from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Small Business Assistance Office.
This post is also part of a series of posts covering the Continuation of Group Health and Life Insurance Coverage Law (COBRA). This information is not legal advice. You should consult with an experienced employment attorney before dealing with COBRA-related employment issues.
189 29 U.S.C. § 1166(a)(1); 26 U.S.C. § 4980B(f)(6)(A); 42 U.S.C. § 300bb-6(1). 190 29 C.F.R. § 2590.606-1.
191 29 C.F.R. § 2590.606-1(c).