Friday, May 16, 2014

NEW COBRA Guidance

Typically, the rules for dropping COBRA are as follows: Yes, you can drop COBRA inside Open Enrollment, get a Marketplace Plan and be eligible for tax credits/subsidies even if your COBRA hasn't expired. No, you can't do the same thing outside of Open Enrollment--if you voluntarily drop COBRA outside of Open Enrollment, you typically are not be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, so you couldn't get into a Marketplace plan, without a separate qualifying life event. If your COBRA expired outside of Open Enrollment, you WOULD be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period and thus could also be eligible for tax credits/subsidies.
But Wait: New Guidance: HHS will allow current COBRA  enrollees a chance to drop coverage and enroll in a marketplace plan by way of a special enrollment period. The last day to select and enroll in a marketplace plan through this SEP is July 1. Anybody currently in a COBRA plan who wants to switch to a marketplace plan should call 1-800-318-2596 and “inform the Marketplace call center that they are calling about their COBRA benefits and the Marketplace.” Once the person is determined eligible for the SEP, they can either continue enrollment and plan selection over the phone, or use an existing account, or create a new account and complete enrollment online.

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