On July 6, 2015, President Obama signed the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015. The Act retroactively reinstated a refundable federal tax credit of up to 72.5% of the cost of qualified health insurance premiums – including COBRA. The tax credit is generally for individuals in certain industries whose jobs are lost or threatened due to foreign-trade related circumstances and for individuals over age 55 receiving payments from the PBGC relating to a terminated, underfunded pension plan.
The tax credit previously expired on January 1, 2014. Previous versions of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) model COBRA election notices contained language about the tax credit. However, the DOL eliminated the tax credit language with the 2014 model notice revisions.
With the revival of the tax credit, the DOL may update its model election notices to once again include a discussion of the tax credit. Employers are not required to use the DOL model election notices. However, an election notice that contains the same information as the DOL model election notice is deemed to comply with the COBRA rules and regulations.
Stay tuned to see if you need to update your COBRA notices!
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