In order for a Plan Administrator to issue an Election Notice to a qualified beneficiary, it has to first receive notice of when a qualifying event occurs. In general, employers are obligated to inform the Plan Administrator of certain qualifying events within 30 days of their occurrence, which include:
- death of a covered employee;
- termination (other than for gross misconduct) or reduction in hours of the covered employee;
- the covered employee becomes entitled to Medicare; or employer bankruptcy.197
- Covered employees and qualified beneficiaries also have a duty to inform the Plan Administrator of certain qualifying events,198 generally within 60 days of their occurrence.
- The notices required from covered employees and qualifying beneficiaries include:
- notice of a divorce or legal separation of a covered employee from his or her spouse, and/or a dependent child’s losing dependent status under the plan;
- notice of second qualifying events, including the death of a covered employee, divorce or legal separation from the covered employee, the covered employee becoming entitled to Medicare benefits, and a child ceasing to be a covered beneficiary under the terms of the plan;
- notice of a disability determination from the Social Security Administration; and
- notice of a change in disability status according to the Social Security Administration.
Group Health Plans must establish reasonable procedures for employees and qualified beneficiaries to provide notice of these qualifying events to the Plan Administrator, and describe these procedures in the plan’s SPD.199
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.
197 29 U.S.C. 1166(a)(2); 26 U.S.C. § 4980B(f)(6)(B); 42 U.S.C. § 300bb-6(2); 29 C.F.R. § 2590.606-2(b)(3).
198 29 C.F.R. § 2590.606-3.
199 29 C.F.R. § 2590.606-3(b).