Be Thorough With COBRA Communications (article)
Be Thorough with COBRA Communications
It is very important, according to the U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, for COBRA election material not only be provided, but that it be legally sufficient, meaning that it provide all of relevant information. In the matter of Griffin v. Neptune Tech. Grp (2015 WL 1635939 (M.D. Ala. 2015)), a terminated employee who was eligible for COBRA continuation coverage under his employer’s group health plan received a COBRA notice from his employer following his termination of employment. The Court found that while the employer made a good faith effort to notify the individual of his COBRA rights, “the contents of the notice were insufficient under the law to allow him to make an informed and intelligent decision whether to elect continued coverage”. Specifically, the Court determined that the contents of the COBRA notice lacked pertinent information required under the Department of Labor’s regulations relating to the contents of the notice, as well as failed to adequately explain the plan’s procedures for electing COBRA coverage.
This is a good reminder for plan administrators to make certain that all plan communications are accurate and thorough. This includes not only COBRA information, but summary plan descriptions, summaries of material modifications, and any other plan communications.
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