Under the ARPA, a 100% COBRA premium subsidy and additional COBRA enrollment rights are available to certain assistance eligible individuals (AEIs). Such eligibility is during the period beginning on April 1, 2021, and ending on September 30, 2021 (the Subsidy Period).
Is your business required to offer COBRA insurance coverage? If so, it’s important to mind the details of the subsidies and a related tax credit. Here are some highlights of the additional guidance:
An AEI whose original qualifying event was a reduction of hours or involuntary termination is generally eligible for the subsidy to the extent the extended COBRA coverage falls within the Subsidy Period. The AEI must be entitled to the extended coverage because of a:
This is true even if the AEI didn’t notify the plan of the intent to elect extended COBRA coverage before the start of the Subsidy Period. For example, because of the Outbreak Period deadline extensions.
The subsidy ends when an AEI becomes eligible for coverage under any other disqualifying group health plan coverage or Medicare. This applies even if the other coverage doesn’t include the same benefits provided by the previously elected COBRA coverage.
For example, though Medicare generally doesn’t provide vision or dental coverage, the subsidy for an AEI’s dental-only or vision-only COBRA coverage ends if the AEI becomes eligible for Medicare.
A state program that provides continuation coverage comparable to federal COBRA qualifies AEIs for the subsidy. This applies even if the state program covers only a subset of state residents. One example for such includes employees of a state or local government unit.
Under most circumstances, an AEI’s current or former common-law employer is the entity that’s eligible to claim the tax credit for providing the subsidy. It’s important to note that this depends on whether the AEI had a reduction of hours or an involuntary termination.
If a plan (other than a multi-employer plan) covers employees of two or more controlled group members, each common-law employer in the group is entitled to claim the credit with respect to its current or former employees.
Guidance on claiming the credit is also provided for:
The ARPA’s COBRA provisions have been in effect for a while now. As such, your company likely already has procedures in place to provide the subsidy to AEIs and claim the corresponding tax credit. Nevertheless, this guidance offers helpful clarifications. Contact our accounting firm for more information.