Haynsworth Baldwin Johnson + Greaves LLCtoday announced the publication of its “COBRA Compliance Manual.” The manual is authored by firm members Robert S. Phifer and Brian M. Magargle.
The “COBRA Compliance Manual” provides detailed, non-technical explanations of the health benefits continuation requirements imposed by federal law on most employer-sponsored health benefits programs. Under those requirements, most employer-sponsored health plans must offer continuation coverage to eligible employees and dependents (called “qualified beneficiaries”) whose coverage otherwise would be lost because of certain “qualifying events,” such as termination of employment, divorce, or other life events that affect eligibility for coverage. COBRA also imposes a complex set of notice and administrative requirements on covered employees and their beneficiaries, employers, and plan administrators.
“Any human resources or benefits professional who has attempted to wade through these requirements knows what a daunting challenge COBRA administration can present,” said Howard Daniel, the firm’s Managing Member. “The ‘COBRA Compliance Manual’ is specifically tailored to make that task far more manageable. Rather than simply repeat or paraphrase the statutory and regulatory requirements, the manual carefully explains each requirement in understandable terms and provides a concise, practical summary of the steps that help employers prevent problems before they happen.”
The “COBRA Compliance Manual” also contains a comprehensive appendix of forms to aid in compliance efforts. These forms include initial COBRA notices, notices to participants upon the occurrence of specific qualifying events, notices regarding the denial or termination of COBRA continuation coverage rights under appropriate circumstances, election forms, and other materials that the user can customize (in consultation with its professional advisors) for use in COBRA compliance and administration. The downloadable forms contain easy-to-follow alternatives and comments that will help the user and its advisors make the best use of the forms given the specifics of the user’s group health plan.
Both the text and the forms in the “COBRA Compliance Manual” have been updated to take into account the requirements of the Department of Labor’s proposed regulations governing COBRA notices, issued in May 2003.