Q:What is the Federal Government's role in COBRA?
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A: COBRA continuation coverage laws are administered by several agencies. The Departments of Labor and Treasury have jurisdiction over private-sector health group health plans. The Department of Health and Human Services administers the continuation coverage law as it affects public-sector health plans.
The Labor Department's interpretive and regulatory responsibility is limited to the disclosure and notification requirements of COBRA. If you need further information on your disclosure or notification rights under a private-sector plan, or about ERISA generally, telephone EBSA's Toll-Free Employee & Employer Hotline at: 1.866.444.3272, or write to:
U.S. Department of Labor
Employee Benefits Security Administration
Division of Technical Assistance and Inquiries
200 Constitution Avenue NW, Suite N-5619
Washington, DC 20210
The Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury, has issued regulations on COBRA provisions relating to eligibility, coverage and premiums in 26 CFR Part 54, Continuation Coverage Requirements Applicable to Group Health Plans. Both the Departments of Labor and Treasury share jurisdiction for enforcement of these provisions.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services offers information about COBRA provisions for public-sector employees. You can write them at this address:
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
7500 Security Boulevard
Mail Stop S3-16-16
Baltimore, MD 21244-1850