Employers now have one more reason to put procedures in place to document their COBRA processes. Employers must make sure they follow standard procedures and keep detailed records of the mailing of COBRA notices.
In a recent court case decided in the Western District of Oklahoma (Somer v. Cudd Energy Services), a former employee sued her employer asserting that the employer did not provide a timely COBRA notice. The employer argued that its third party COBRA vendor sent the COBRA notice by first-class mail to the employee's last known address.
The employer was able to present the court with a description of the TPA's automatic COBRA notice generation system. The TPA had copies of the actual letters mailed, and put together an audit report showing date of mailing. Based on the evidence presented by the employer, the court held that even if the employee did not actually receive the COBRA notice, the employer used a procedure that showed a good faith effort to send the notice to the employee and this was sufficient for providing distribution of the required notice.
This recent case reaffirms the importance of providing timely, adequate COBRA notices and being able to document following an appropriate COBRA notice procedure. BAS, through its subsidiary Cobra Control Services, LLC, provides automated COBRA notice generation services, along with copies of all notices sent (with proof of mailing). To find out more about our COBRA services, please contact sales@BASusa.com.