New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance (NJDOBI) Issues Bulletin No. 21-08
With the sudden issuing of the NJDOBI Bulletin No. 21-08, OCA continues to maintain a leadership role and support our New Jersey (NJ) Small Employer groups. OCA will be mailing the Extended Election Notice for our active New Jersey State Continuation clients. To that end, we have outlined our action plans below to help our NJ Small Employers comply with the requirements identified in Bulletin No. 21-08.
OCA’s Bulletin No. 21-08 Operational UpdateStep 1 – Identifying Impacted NJ Clients and Potential Assistance Eligible Individuals (AEIs)
Expected Completion Date: 7/24/21
As of Friday, July 23, 2021, OCA is finalizing its list of all New Jersey State Continuation clients and their potential list of individuals who now need to receive the Extended Election Notice. Given the 5-day time constraint outlined in Bulletin No. 21-08, OCA will not have enough time to confirm the termination of employment reason (involuntary vs. voluntary).
We do encourage NJ Small Employers who self-administer their State Continuation to mail the Model Alternative Notice of ARP.
Click here to view the Model Alternative Notice of ARP Continuation Coverage Election Notice. (For use by insured coverage subject to State Continuation requirements between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021.)
Step 2 – Mailing the Extended Election Notice
Expected Completion Date: 7/26/21
To comply with the NJDOBI, OCA will be mailing the Extended Election Notice for our active New Jersey State Continuation clients. We anticipate the notices to be issued by July 26, 2021.
For MHPNJ State Continuation clients, OCA will be mailing the Extended Election Notice for active clients only. For employers who are now self-administering their State Continuation coverage, we encourage them to mail the Model Notice to potentially eligible AEIs no later than 7/28.
We thank our partners and clients for their support during this very challenging time in the world of COBRA/State Continuation administration. OCA remains committed to always being transparent and helping our clients and partners. We will be sending an updated email early next week with our next operational update. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact OCA directly at (855) 622-0777.
Today, the NJDOBI issued Bulletin No. 21-08, which addresses how the COBRA premium assistance outlined under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is going to impact New Jersey Small Employers (groups subject to State Continuation). Bulletin No. 21-08 states that the “Extended Election Period” will now apply to employer groups subject to New Jersey State Continuation coverage, regardless of where the employee resides.
Before Bulletin No. 21-08 was issued…
Prior to today’s NJDOBI bulletin, the ARPA premium subsidy was applicable for plans subject to State Continuation law. However, the “2nd bite at the apple” did not apply. The “2nd bite at the apple” only applied to employer groups subject to Federal COBRA. Therefore, only for those individuals who had an involuntary termination or reduction of hours that were currently within their election period (qualified beneficiary status), already on State Continuation, or had new qualifying life events (QLE) moving forward were considered an Assistance Eligible Individual and qualified for the subsidy.
After Bulletin No. 21-08 was issued…
Small employers whose employees had the opportunity to elect continuation due to reduced hours, furlough or layoff, but who did not elect continuation or who elected continuation but later terminated it, must be given the opportunity for an extended election period. Employers must provide notice of the extended election period no later than 5 business days following July 21, 2021 for State Continuation.
To summarize, employers that are subject to New Jersey State Continuation coverage must now offer that “2nd bite at the apple.”
Remember, New Jersey continuation allows continuation of the small employer health benefits plan only. For employers subject to New Jersey continuation, the premium assistance is available for the small employer health benefits plan only.