Important ARPA Update: Employer AEI Identification and Notice Obligations
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) and provided model notices to assist employers with fulfilling their employer notice obligations with respect to the new COBRA subsidy made available under ARPA to Assistance Eligible Individuals (AEIs) during the period April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021 (the Subsidy Period).
In order for Zenefits to be able to assist admins to fulfill their employer notice obligations, Zenefits needs admins to identify and mark individuals who have been employed and who may be AEIs.
We have provided information in this video and below to assist admins in identification and marking of an individual’s AEI status.
AEIs are individuals who meet all of the following criteria:
- Is a Qualified Beneficiary (QB) who experienced a reduction in hours or an involuntary termination of employment.
- Has at least one medical, dental, vision plan.
- Has a Last Day of Coverage (LDOC) of April 1, 2021 or later.
The individual must not be eligible for other group health coverage.
ARPA requires that employers provide a one time special lookback notice by May 31, 2021 to anyone who may be an AEI and who was eligible for COBRA before April 1, 2021 and who may or may not have elected and/or paid for COBRA coverage but is still within their COBRA continuation period (the Lookback Notice).
The QB AEI 2021 Report and the Import feature will assist the admins in the identification and marking of individuals who need to receive the Lookback Notice, and allow for updating of their eligibility status.
- The QB AEI 2021 Report can be accessed from the standard report menu in the employer portal.
- The QB AEI 2021 Report will include a column labeled AEI 2021 Status, which will default to the status of Unknownwhen it is initially generated.
- Complete that column with a status of Eligible (for the subsidy) or Ineligible (for the subsidy) in order to update an individual’s record.
- Upload the completed QB AEI Report to the import in the employer portal using the AEI 2021 Status Update Utility.
- AEI status will be updated for the participants.
It is extremely important that the admins update the AEI Status of all Qualifying Beneficiaries who may be AEIs in their COBRA platforms by May 7th in order for them to meet the May 31st Lookback Notice delivery deadline required of employers by law under ARPA.
Going Forward Notices
In addition to the Lookback Notice, ARPA requires that employers provide a notice of AEI COBRA subsidy rights to all Qualified Beneficiaries who have qualifying events occurring during the Subsidy Period who may also be AEIs. This means that after completing the AEI identification required for the Lookback Notice, they will need to continue to identify during the entire Subsidy Period all individuals that become Qualified Beneficiaries who may be AEIs.
Admins can use the same process listed above or update the AEI status for any individual through their profile page to identify individuals who may be AEIs throughout the Subsidy Period. Once the AEI status of an individual has been updated, the required notices will be sent out. Detailed steps on both these processes are outlined in this Help Center Article.
Please Note - For individuals who would otherwise be receiving a Lookback Notice but were not transitioned to COBRA Complete when the company was migrated (For example, the company implemented with Zenefits COBRA Administrators in August 2020 and had an individual who terminated from coverage back in May 2020) admins will need to identify these individuals by working with your previous COBRA administrator and send out the required notices and election and attestation forms. For any questions regarding this process, admins need to reach out to their COBRA Administrators.
COBRA Complete - 877-791-3399 or COBRACompleteEmployer@healthaccountservices. com
Accrue - 888-882-1498 or cobrasupport@accruecms. com
Election and Attestation Process
COBRA subsidy election and AEI status attestation forms will be sent along with the required notices to those individuals who you have identified as AEIs. The COBRA subsidy will only be available to an individual if the employer has marked them as an AEI and they have also submitted their COBRA subsidy election and AEI status attestation to their COBRA Administrator.
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