The U.S. Department of Labor has issued final regulations for TWO NEW notice requirements for group health plans to be provided by the Plan Administer (the Employer, unless using a third party administrator). These requirements become effective with plan anniversaries on or after November 26, 2004.

The FIRST NEW notice is A Notice of COBRA Unavailability. This new notice is required if a Plan Administrator receives a notice of a qualifying event, a second qualifying event or Social Security disability determination, and has determined that the individual is not entitled to COBRA. This Notice must be provided within 14 days and contain a complete explanation of WHY COBRA is unavailable.

The SECOND NEW notice is a Notice of Early COBRA Termination. This notice must be provided to a qualified beneficiary when the Plan Administrator determines that the beneficiary is no longer eligible for COBRA. This notice must be provided as soon as is practicable and must contain the reason COBRA has terminated and alternative rights or plans for which the beneficiary may be eligible.

The final regulations also specify what General and Election notices must contain and the reasonable procedures that must be followed in providing the notices.
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