Q.- Can we delay issuing a COBRA election notice to someone who is terminating from employment? We’ve been very busy and the HR admin who usually processes the notices is on a leave of absence.
A.- It is our understanding that the Final Rule issued by the Internal Revenue Service and Employee Benefits Security Administration on May 4, 2020 provided relief to employers due to the COVID-19 pandemic by extending the otherwise-required timeframes for providing COBRA notices. The Rule said that health plans must disregard the period from March 1, 2020 until 60 days after the end of the National Emergency when determining the date by which a continuant must provide a COBRA election notice or pay for COBRA coverage. The Final Rule similarly extended the time employers have to issue notices.
While it is never a good idea to delay issuing a legally required notice, there seems to be support that the timeframe for issuing a COBRA notice has been extended due to the COVID-19 National Emergency.