Another pandemic-related employee benefit is coming to an end. Since April 1, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) has provided a subsidy for certain individuals to receive continuation coverage under COBRA. That benefit subsidy period is now coming to an end on September 30, 2021, and with the end of the subsidy period comes one final deadline for employers to provide notices to individuals receiving the subsidy.
As we previously wrote, ARPA requires that notices regarding the expiration of the subsidy must be sent between 15-45 days before the later of the end of an individual’s COBRA coverage or September 30, 2021. With the end of September (and the subsidy period) upon us, that means that the expiration notices for employees still receiving the COBRA subsidy under ARPA must be sent no later than September 15, 2021.
The expiration notice must be written in clear, understandable language that informs the individual that their subsidy benefit under ARPA will soon expire. The notice must also provide the date the subsidy expires and advise the individual that they may have other coverage options available, such as continuing COBRA coverage at their own expense (if applicable) or obtaining coverage under the health insurance marketplace. Thankfully, as with the previous required notices for the COBRA subsidies under ARPA, the Department of Labor has provided a model expiration notice for employers to use.
If you have any questions about the expiration of the COBRA subsidy, ARPA compliance, or the required expiration notice, please reach out to your Much attorney.