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Summary of the COBRA Premium Assistance Provisions under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Click Here to Download an ARP Premium Assistance Application

Summary 

President Biden signed H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), on March 11, 2021. This law subsidizes the full COBRA premium for “Assistance Eligible Individuals” for periods of coverage from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.

To be eligible for the premium assistance, you:                                      

  • MUST have a COBRA qualifying event that is a reduction in hours or an involuntary termination of a covered employee’s employment;
  • MUST elect COBRA continuation coverage;
  • MUST NOT be eligible for Medicare; AND
  • MUST NOT be eligible for coverage under any other group health plan, such as a plan sponsored by a new employer or a spouse’s employer. *

¨ IMPORTANT ¨

◊    If you do not elect to receive the premium assistance within 60 days of receipt of this form, you may be ineligible for the premium assistance.

◊    If you elect COBRA continuation coverage with premium assistance, and then become eligible for other group health plan coverage (not including coverage that is only excepted benefits (such as dental or vision coverage), a Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement, or a health flexible spending arrangement), or if you become eligible for Medicare, you MUST notify the plan in writing. If you fail to provide this notice, you may be subject to a penalty of $250 (or if the failure is fraudulent, the greater of $250 or 110% of the premium assistance provided after termination of eligibility). You won’t be subject to the penalty if your failure to notify the plan is due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect.

◊    Employers that don’t satisfy COBRA continuation coverage requirements may be investigated by the Department of Labor and may be subject to an excise tax under the Internal Revenue Code.

◊    If you elect COBRA continuation coverage and are eligible for the premium assistance, you cannot claim the Health Coverage Tax Credit. You also cannot qualify for a premium tax credit to help pay for coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace®[1], such as on HealthCare.gov, for any months that you are enrolled in COBRA continuation coverage with or without the premium assistance.

For general information on your plan’s COBRA continuation coverage, contact [enter name of party responsible for COBRA administration for the Plan, with telephone number and address].

For specific information on your plan’s administration of the ARP premium assistance or to notify the plan of your ineligibility to receive premium assistance, contact [enter name of party responsible for ARP Premium Assistance administration for the Plan, with telephone number and address].

For more information regarding ARP premium assistance and eligibility questions, visit:

https://www.dol.gov/cobra-subsidy or contact the Department of Labor at askebsa.dol.gov or 1-866-444-EBSA (3272)

* This restriction does not include coverage under a plan that provides only excepted benefits, a qualified small employer health reimbursment arrangement, or coverage under a health flexible spending arrangement.

[1] Health Insurance Marketplace® is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.