By: Manuel E. Ignacio – The Saqui Law Group
The Department of Labor issued a new Rule extending the deadlines for employees to elect COBRA coverage and to make COBRA premium payments (in addition to other deadlines related to ERISA benefits) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension suspends the time for calculating these deadlines during the period from March 1, 2020 (when the current state of national emergency was announced) until sixty (60) days after the national emergency is lifted.
Employees generally have 60 days to elect COBRA coverage under a group health plan and 45 days to make the first premium payment. The “timer” on these (and other) deadlines is effectively paused while the current national emergency remains in effect and until 60 days after it is lifted. You can read the agency’s Rule here. Employers should contact qualified ERISA counsel with specific questions about how this new Rule affects their business and their employees.