Did you lose your health insurance when you lost your job or had your hours reduced?
If an employee has employer-provided health insurance and is laid off, or has hours reduced to part-time, that health insurance coverage may be ending. Due to the declaration of a national emergency regarding the coronavirus, a proposed rule provides for the extension of some of the COBRA health insurance deadlines.
The notice is the right to continue your health insurance coverage or COBRA continuation coverage.
The normal rule is that you have at least 60 days to elect COBRA coverage after you receive the notice of the right to continue that health insurance coverage. The employer or plan can require you to pay for the coverage, which can be up to 102% of the actual cost of the coverage. However, the plan cannot require payment of the premium before 45 days after you make the COBRA election.
Due to a national emergency being declared regarding this virus, some of the COBRA time frames may be extended if a final rule is adopted. We expect that it will be adopted.
The helpful change is that for purposes of calculating the above time frames, the plans are required to disregard the time period of March 1, 2020 and until 60 days after the announced end of the national emergency or such other date announced by the agency involved whether it is within the Department of Labor, or the Department of the Treasury.
That means you may still have the opportunity to obtain health insurance if you recently lost it due to a layoff, reduction in hours, or other termination, except gross misconduct. It also means that if you thought you could not afford the health insurance, you may yet be able to make the payment to have that coverage. This is good news for many!
If you did not receive a COBRA notice or if you are having other issues in your health insurance, contact our experienced ERISA attorneys today. We may be able to help!