“Governor Amends Rhode Island Mini-COBRA to Extend COBRA Subsidy; Action Required by May 1”
On April 9, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri signed a law permitting any person entitled to State mini-COBRA coverage on or after September 1, 2008 but who hadn't enrolled to enroll between now and May 1, 2009.
April 2009On April 9, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri signed a law permitting any person entitled to State mini-COBRA coverage on or after September 1, 2008 but who hadn't enrolled to enroll between now and May 1, 2009. For purposes of this law, it does not matter if the employee actively declined the coverage (for example, because it was too costly), never returned the forms, or returned the forms in an untimely fashion. The State law does not include a requirement that an employer notify individuals of this new right to enroll, but employers subject to R.I. Gen. Laws 27-19.1 may be required to send the model Department of Labor notice to any employee that terminated on or after September 1, 2008 but did not enroll for coverage. [Click here to review the model notice.]
If an employee covered by the new State law enrolls for coverage, the coverage will be retroactive to March 1, 2009 and - assuming all federal requirements are met - eligible for the federal COBRA subsidy. [Click here to review previous PS&H eblast on COBRA subsidy.] Employers will need to contact carriers to enroll these individuals for coverage retroactively. [Click here for a copy of the new law if the carrier balks at retroactive enrollment.] In general, for state coverage, it is the insurance carrier (and not the employer) that pays the subsidy and receives the payroll tax deduction, so that any obligation to amend the payroll tax return for the first quarter to include these new enrollees generally would fall on the insurance carrier.