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Compliance Briefing Center


{Making it Easier for You
to Manage Benefits}

WageWorks COBRA Bulletin #9

2010 COBRA Open Enrollment Reminders
Open Enrollment is rapidly coming to an end and we wanted to provide some updates and confirmation on the process.


Notification of Premium Rate Changes:
IRS COBRA regulations require that all COBRA participants enrolled or pending enrollment in the program must be provided with reasonable advance notice of any and all benefit rate changes.   As a result, WageWorks® wants to be sure that compliance is being maintained and that all of your COBRA participants are provided with 30 days notice, which is considered a reasonable period of time under COBRA regulations, of any upcoming premium rate increase for 2010. It is important that the Open Enrollment notification of such changes be provided by December 1st for rate changes effective 1/1/2010.   IRS COBRA regulations also stipulate that all benefit rates must be static for a twelve (12) month period of time.  Once rates have been determined and communicated to the COBRA participants, those rates will be applied for the twelve month period following compliant notification of any change.  Therefore, if notice of any rate changes cannot be mailed by December 1st, you should consider using the current rates as the billable rates for January, 2010.  


ACTIVE OPEN ENROLLMENT is understood to require that the COBRA participant confirm via the Open Enrollment election form the coverage they wish to continue and/or may wish to change.  Any COBRA elections reflected on the Open Enrollment Change Form will be applied for the coming calendar year.  Coverage that may be in effect, but is not re-elected for the new plan year, will be dropped for the participant’s account.

PASSIVE OPEN ENROLLMENT is understood to require that the COBRA participant should only respond if they wish to make a change to their current benefit elections.  If such change is provided to WageWorks by any of your COBRA participants, we will take the appropriate action to make that changed as of the new plan year.

As a reminder, WageWorks would recommend that each employer confirm the participant population that is being terminated as a result of a move to another group health plan with another carrier.