New Healthcare Notification Requirement for Laid-off Workers

May, 2014

On Friday, May 2, the Obama administration issued a ruling that requires employers to notify laid-off workers of their option to purchase healthcare through the online marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, in addition to the option of continuing work-based coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).

Through COBRA, workers have long had the opportunity to stay on their existing group health insurance policy for up to 18 or, in some cases, 36 months, but were usually required to pay the entire monthly premium. This new ruling is designed to give those workers needing coverage a more affordable option to meet their insurance needs for an indefinite period of time. You can download the most up-to-date COBRA model notice to give to terminated employees at

The administration also proposed regulations on Friday to clarify that someone leaving a job may consider that a ‘qualifying event’ and can purchase insurance on the exchange outside the normal open enrollment periods. Currently, a person wanting to enroll in a plan offered on one of the online exchanges without a qualifying event would need to do so during open enrollment.

Open enrollment for the 2015 calendar year is currently proposed to be November 15, 2014 until January 15, 2015.


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