Notice 2021-31 - End of COBRA Premium Assistance Period - Q&A 47-50

Q-47. For how long is COBRA premium assistance available to an Assistance Eligible Individual? 

A-47. COBRA premium assistance applies until the earliest of (1) the first date the Assistance Eligible Individual becomes eligible for other group health plan coverage (with certain exceptions) or Medicare coverage, (2) the date the individual ceases to be eligible for COBRA continuation coverage, or (3) the end of the last period of coverage beginning on or before September 30, 2021. 

Example: A plan provides that employees and qualified beneficiaries pay premiums for health coverage, including COBRA continuation coverage, on a biweekly basis for a corresponding two-week period of coverage. For September 2021, the last two-week period of coverage is from September 19 through October 2, 2021. COBRA premium assistance would apply with respect to the entire period of coverage beginning September 19, even though the period of coverage includes coverage for October 1 and October 2, 2021. 

Q-48. Once subsidized COBRA continuation coverage ends with the period of coverage including September 30, 2021, does coverage for a qualified beneficiary who was an Assistance Eligible Individual automatically continue with unsubsidized COBRA and, if so, when is the payment for the first subsequent period of coverage due? 

A-48. COBRA continuation coverage automatically continues, and the payment for the first period of coverage after September 30, 2021 will be timely if paid according to the terms of the plan or coverage, subject to applicable COBRA continuation coverage requirements taking into account the Emergency Relief Notices. 

Q-49. What are the consequences if an Assistance Eligible Individual fails to provide notice that the individual is no longer eligible for COBRA premium assistance due to eligibility for coverage under another group health plan or Medicare? 

A-49. An Assistance Eligible Individual who fails to provide notice may be subject to a Federal tax penalty of $250 for each failure to notify the employer, plan, or issuer. If the failure to provide notice is fraudulent, the penalty will be the greater of $250 or 110 percent of the COBRA premium assistance improperly received. The penalty will not apply if the individual’s failure to provide notice was due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect. The employer, plan, or issuer who received the premium assistance credit in the amount of the excess COBRA premium assistance has no right to the penalty payment. 

Q-50. Does the death of an employee who has had a reduction in hours or involuntary termination of employment end the eligibility for COBRA premium assistance of any qualified beneficiary spouse and dependent children? 

A-50. No.



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