Benefit News

Updated Model Cobra Notices Issued

May 04, 2020

On May 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued new model notices (English and Spanish versions) for group health plan administrators to use to comply with COBRA notification requirements. Although plan administrators are not required to use the updated model notices, the DOL generally considers their use—with the addition of appropriate plan information—to be good faith compliance with COBRA’s content requirements for:

  • The general notice of coverage continuation rights, which must be provided to each employee and spouse within 90 days of coverage; and
  • The notice of a qualified beneficiary’s right to elect continued coverage, which must be provided within 14 days after receiving notice of a qualifying event.
  • The updated model notices aim to help qualified beneficiaries better understand the interactions between Medicare and COBRA, including that there may be advantages to enrolling in Medicare before, or instead of, electing COBRA. They also highlight that if an individual is eligible for both COBRA and Medicare, electing COBRA coverage may impact enrollment into Medicare and certain out-of-pocket costs.

    At the same time the updated model notices were released, the DOL also listed a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help explain the interactions between Medicare and COBRA.


    Additional details about Medicare and COBRA enrollment options are included in both the FAQs and updated model notices.

    For additional information, please contact your Burnham Benefits Consultant or Burnham Benefits at 949-833-2983 or

    Burnham Benefits does not engage in the practice of law and this publication should not be construed as the providing of legal advice or a legal opinion of any kind. The consulting advice we provide is intended solely to assist in assessing its compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and other applicable federal and state law requirements, and is based on Burnham Benefit’s interpretation of federal guidance in effect as of the date of this publication. To the best of our knowledge, the information provided herein, and assumptions relied on, are reasonable and accurate as of the date of this publication. Furthermore, to ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any tax advice contained in this publication is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of (i) avoiding penalties imposed under the United States Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another person any tax-related matter.

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