Beginning Thursday, May 15, Covered California will launch a limited-time special-enrollment period for people who have COBRA health insurance, either Federal COBRA or Cal-COBRA (COBRA Coverage California), and would like to switch to an exchange plan.
People who have health coverage through COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) will be eligible to shop for and buy coverage through Covered California from May 15 through July 15, including local assistance from Certified Insurance Agents, at no additional charge. The two-month window mirrors a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ruling announced May 2 that allows COBRA enrollees to buy plans through the federal exchange up to July 1.
A follow-up to this story was published in October can be be read here. Many insurance brokers (and insurers) are suggesting that Employers re-date the plan anniversary (aka “Early Renewal”) to delay certain aspects of Obamacare Affordable Care Act rules and possible penalties (see our related story). Is this a good idea? Are there pros and cons to using a “plan anniversary date change” strategy?
At Coverage California, we present alternative points of view. The following article came from Benecomplink.com, which argues that merely changing the renewal date of the insurance policy, does not necessarily change the plan anniversary date under ERISA:
“Changing the renewal date on an insurance policy with the plan’s carrier does not change the plan year. Changing a renewal date to December may be allowed by the insurance company, but if the plan sponsor/employer does not change the plan year, their plan year may continue to be a calendar year. From a legal perspective, “plan year” is the year designated in the plan document. Plan years are set by board resolutions and reinforced by plan documents and the filing of 5500 forms.. ” [Full article available at Benecomplink]
Employer Plan administrators should seek professional advice from their advisors. For a limited time, we offer a limited number of free Q&A sessions. For details, refer to the Eventbrite invitation at this link:: Reserve Q&A time.
Obamacare Healthcare Surprise: Even Employers With No Health Plan Must Distribute Notices By October 1st
This article provides important information for California employers. If you are an employee checking out Obamacare healthcare plans for yourself, read our Covered California Buyer Guide.
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires all employees to receive a disclosure notice from their employer beginning Ocrober 1, 2013. The notice includes the following advertisement: “When key parts of the health care law take effect in 2014, there will be a new way to buy health insurance: The Health Insurance Marketplace.” The Health Insurance Marketplace is another term for the new ObamaCare Healthcare Exchanges, such as the Covered California exchange (see related story), which is accepting enrollments in October 2013.
Regulatory notice OMB No. 1210-0149 goes on to disclose basic information about the new Health Insurance Marketplace, including how to save money on health insurance premiums in the marketplace etc. If you are interested in a copy, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.