Publication of Model Notices for Health Care Continuation Coverage Provided Pursuant to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and Other Health Care Continuation Coverage, as Required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Notice, 11971-11973 [E9-6131]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 53 / Friday, March 20, 2009 / Notices whether the information will have practical utility; • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. Agency: Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Type of Review: Extension without change of a previously approved collection. Title of Collection: Blasting Operations and the Use of Explosives (29 CFR part 1926, Subpart U). OMB Control Number: 1218–0217. Affected Public: Business or other forprofits. Estimated Number of Respondents: 160. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 1,294. Estimated Total Annual Costs Burden (does not include wage/hour costs): $800,000. Description: The information collection requirements provide protection to employees who work with and around blasting operations. In addition, inventories of explosives must be maintained to assure employer and blaster accountability for explosives. For additional information, see the related 60-day preclearance notice published in the Federal Register at Vol. 73 FR 74525 on December 8, 2008. PRA documentation prepared in association with the preclearance notice is available on http://www.regulations.gov under docket number OSHA–2008–0045. Agency: Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Type of Review: Extension without change of a previously approved collection. Title of Collection: OSHA Strategic Partnership for Worker Safety and Health Program (OSPP). OMB Control Number: 1218–0244. Affected Public: Business or other forprofits. Estimated Number of Respondents: 24,272. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 361,416. Estimated Total Annual Costs Burden (does not include wage/hour costs): $0. VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:07 Mar 19, 2009 Jkt 217001 Description: The OSPP allows OSHA to enter into an extended, voluntary, cooperative relationship with groups of employers, employees, and representatives to encourage, assist and recognize their efforts to eliminate serious hazards and to achieve a high level of employee safety and health that goes beyond what historically has been achieved through traditional enforcement methods. Each OSHA Strategic Partnership (OSP) determines which information will be needed, selects the best collection method, and specifies how the information will be used. At a minimum each OSP must identify baseline illness and injury data corresponding to all summary line items on the OSHA 300 logs, and must track changes at either the worksite level or participant-aggregate level. For additional information, see the related 60-day preclearance notice published in the Federal Register at Vol. 73 FR 67546 on November 14, 2008. PRA documentation prepared in association with the preclearance notice is available on http://www.regulations.gov under docket number OSHA–2008–0041. Darrin A. King, Departmental Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. E9–6033 Filed 3–19–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510–26–P DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Employee Benefits Security Administration Publication of Model Notices for Health Care Continuation Coverage Provided Pursuant to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and Other Health Care Continuation Coverage, as Required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Notice Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor. ACTION: Notice of the Availability of the Model Health Care Continuation Coverage Notices Required by ARRA. AGENCY: SUMMARY: On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 (Pub. L. 111–5). ARRA includes a requirement that the Secretary of Labor (the Secretary), in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Health and Human Services, develop model notices. These models are for use by group health plans and other entities that, pursuant to ARRA, must provide notices of the availability of premium reductions and additional election periods for health care continuation PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 11971 coverage. This document announces the availability of the model health care continuation coverage notices required by ARRA. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Horahan or Amy Turner, Office of Health Plan Standards and Compliance Assistance, Employee Benefits Security Administration, (202) 693–8335. This is not a toll-free number. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) created the health care continuation coverage provisions of title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the Internal Revenue Code (Code), and the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act). These provisions are commonly referred to as the COBRA continuation provisions, and the continuation coverage that they mandate is commonly referred to as COBRA continuation coverage. Group health plans subject to the COBRA continuation provisions are subject to ARRA’s premium reduction provisions, notice requirements, and an additional election period. The COBRA continuation coverage provisions do not apply to group health plans sponsored by employers with fewer than 20 employees. Many States require health insurance issuers who provide group health insurance coverage to plans not subject to the COBRA continuation provisions to provide comparable continuation coverage. Such continuation coverage provided pursuant to State law is also subject to ARRA’s premium reduction provisions and notice requirements but not the additional election period. II. Description of the Model Notices a. In General ARRA mandates the provision of three notices—a ‘‘General Notice,’’ an ‘‘Alternative Notice,’’ and a ‘‘Notice in Connection with Extended Election Periods.’’ Each of these notices must include: a prominent description of the availability of the premium reduction including any conditions on the entitlement; a model form to request treatment as an ‘‘Assistance Eligible Individual’’;1 the name, address, and telephone number of the plan administrator (and any other person 1 In general, an ‘‘Assistance Eligible Individual’’ is an individual who is eligible for COBRA continuation coverage as a result of an involuntary termination of employment at any time from September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009; and who elects COBRA coverage (when first offered or during the additional election period). E:\FR\FM\20MRN1.SGM 20MRN1 11972 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 53 / Friday, March 20, 2009 / Notices with information about the premium reduction); a description of the obligation of individuals paying reduced premiums who become eligible for other coverage to notify the plan; and (if applicable) a description of the opportunity to switch coverage options. The Notice in Connection with Extended Election Periods must also include a description of the extended election period. The Department of Labor (the Department) created these model notices to cover an array of situations in order to deal with the complexity of the various scenarios facing dislocated workers and their families. In an effort to ensure that the notices included all of the information required under ARRA while minimizing the burden imposed on group health plans and issuers, the Department created several packages. Each package is designed for a particular group of qualified beneficiaries and contains all of the information needed to satisfy the content requirements for ARRA’s notice provisions. The packages include the following disclosures: • A summary of ARRA’s premium reduction provisions. • A form to request the premium reduction. • A form for plans (or issuers) who permit qualified beneficiaries to switch coverage options to use to satisfy ARRA’s requirement to give notice of this option. • A form for an individual to use to satisfy ARRA’s requirement to notify the plan (or issuer) that the individual is eligible for other group health plan coverage or Medicare. • COBRA election forms and information, as appropriate. b. General Notice The General Notice is required to be sent by plans that are subject to the COBRA continuation provisions under Federal law.2 It must include the information described above and be provided to ALL qualified beneficiaries, not just covered employees, who have experienced a qualifying event at any time from September 1, 2008 through 2 Under ARRA the Secretary generally is responsible for developing all of the model notices with the exception of model notices relating to Temporary Continuation Coverage under 5 U.S.C. 8905a, which is the responsibility of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). In developing these notices, the Department has consulted with the Departments of the Treasury and Health and Human Services, OPM, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and plan administrators and other entities responsible for providing COBRA continuation coverage. VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:07 Mar 19, 2009 Jkt 217001 December 31, 2009, regardless of the type of qualifying event. The Department has created two versions of this notice. The abbreviated version is for individuals who have elected COBRA and are still covered after experiencing a qualifying event at some time on or after September 1, 2008 to advise them of the availability of the premium reduction and other rights and obligations under ARRA. The longer version includes all of the information related to the premium reduction and other rights and obligations under ARRA as well as all of the information required in an election notice required pursuant to the Department’s final COBRA notice regulations under 29 CFR 2590.606–4(b).3 Providing the longer notice to individuals who have experienced a qualifying event from September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009 will satisfy the Department’s existing requirements for the content of the COBRA election notice as well as those imposed by ARRA. c. Alternative Notice The Alternative Notice is required to be sent by issuers that offer group health insurance coverage that is subject to continuation coverage requirements imposed by State law. The Alternative Notice must include the information described above and be provided to ALL qualified beneficiaries, not just covered employees, who have experienced a qualifying event at any time from September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009, regardless of the type of qualifying event. Continuation coverage requirements vary among States. Thus, the Department crafted a single version of this notice that should be modified to reflect the requirements of the applicable State law. Issuers of group health insurance coverage subject to this notice requirement should feel free to use the model Alternative Notice or the abbreviated model General Notice (as appropriate). d. Notice in Connection With Extended Election Periods The Notice in Connection with Extended Election Periods is required to 3 ARRA provides that COBRA election notices already provided for qualifying events occurring during this time period but which did not include information on the availability of the premium reduction are not complete. As such, the end of the 60-day period for electing COBRA continuation coverage is measured from when a complete notice is provided. Moreover, although under COBRA a timely election may require a plan to make coverage available retroactively to the date of the loss of coverage, ARRA provides no new requirement for a plan to allow an individual to elect COBRA continuation coverage for any period prior to the first coverage period beginning on or after February 17, 2009. PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 be sent by plans that are subject to COBRA continuation provisions under Federal law. It must include the information described above and be provided to any Assistance Eligible Individual (or any individual who would be an Assistance Eligible Individual if a COBRA continuation coverage election were in effect) who: had a qualifying event at any time from September 1, 2008 through February 16, 2009; AND either did not elect COBRA continuation coverage or who elected but subsequently discontinued COBRA. This notice MUST be provided by April 18, 2009, which is 60 days after the date ARRA was enacted.4 III. For Additional Information For additional information about ARRA’s COBRA premium reduction provisions, contact the Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration’s Benefits Advisors at 1– 866–444–3272. In addition, the Employee Benefits Security Administration has developed a dedicated COBRA Web page http:// www.dol.gov/COBRA that will contain information on the program as it is developed. Subscribe to this page to get up-to-date fact sheets, FAQs, model notices, and applications. IV. Paperwork Reduction Act Statement According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–13) (PRA), no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless such collection displays a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. The Department notes that a Federal agency cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it is approved by OMB under the PRA, and displays a currently valid OMB control number, and the public is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. See 44 U.S.C. 3507. Also, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if the collection of information does not 4 ARRA could be read to require Assistance Eligible Individuals with qualifying events from September 1, 2008 through February 16, 2009 who are already enrolled in COBRA coverage to receive both a General Notice and a Notice in Connection with Extended Election Periods with duplicate content. Because the COBRA election information would be of no practical importance to individuals already enrolled, plans may send just the abbreviated General Notice to such individuals and satisfy both ARRA notice requirements if the 60-day time frame for providing the Notice in Connection with Extended Election Periods is satisfied. E:\FR\FM\20MRN1.SGM 20MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 53 / Friday, March 20, 2009 / Notices display a currently valid OMB control number. See 44 U.S.C. 3512. This Notice revises the collections of information contained in the ICR titled Notice Requirements of the Health Care Continuation Coverage Provisions approved under OMB Control Number 1210–0123. OMB has approved this revision to the ICR pursuant to the emergency review procedures under 5 CFR 1320.13. The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average approximately 7 minutes per respondent, including time for gathering and maintaining the data needed to complete the required disclosure. Interested parties are encouraged to send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Attention: Departmental Clearance Officer, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N–1301, Washington, DC 20210 or e-mail DOL_PRA_PUBLIC@dol.gov and reference the OMB Control Number 1210–0123. V. Models The Department has decided to make the model notices available in modifiable, electronic form on its Web site: http://www.dol.gov/COBRA. VI. Statutory Authority Authority: 29 U.S.C. 1027, 1059, 1135, 1161–1169, 1191c; Public Law 111–5, 123 Stat. 115; sec. 3001(a)(5), 3001(a)(2)(C), 3001(a)(7), and Secretary of Labor’s Order No. 1–2003, 68 FR 5374 (Feb. 3, 2003). Signed at Washington, DC this 17th day of March 2009. Alan D. Lebowitz, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Employee Benefits Security Administration. [FR Doc. E9–6131 Filed 3–19–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510–29–P DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Notice of a Change in Status of an Extended Benefit (EB) Period for South Carolina AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration, Labor. Notice. SUMMARY: This notice announces a change in benefit period eligibility under the EB program for South Carolina. VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:07 Mar 19, 2009 Jkt 217001 petition filed by an official of a Missouri State workforce office on behalf of workers of The Doe-Run Company, St. Louis, Missouri. The petitioner has requested that the petition be withdrawn. Consequently, the investigation has been terminated. Signed at Washington, DC, this 5th day of March 2009. Richard Church, Certifying Officer, Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance. [FR Doc. E9–5913 Filed 3–19–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510–FN–P Information for Claimants The duration of benefits payable in the EB program, and the terms and conditions on which they are payable, are governed by the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970, as amended, and the operating instructions issued to the states by the U.S. Department of Labor. In the case of a state beginning an EB period, the State Workforce Agency will furnish a written notice of potential entitlement to each individual who has exhausted all rights to regular benefits and is potentially eligible for EB (20 CFR 615.13(c)(1)). Persons who believe they may be entitled to EB or who wish to inquire about their rights under the program should contact their State Workforce Agency. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Gibbons, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Office of Workforce Security, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Frances Perkins Building, Room S–4231, Washington, DC 20210, telephone number (202) 693–3008 (this is not a toll-free number) or by e-mail: gibbons.scott@dol.gov. Signed in Washington, DC, this 13th day of March 2009. Douglas F. Small, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration. [FR Doc. E9–6032 Filed 3–19–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510–FW–P Employment and Training Administration ACTION: The following change has occurred since the publication of the last notice regarding the State’s EB status: • The 13-week insured unemployment rate (IUR) for South Carolina for the week ending February 21, 2009, rose above 5.0 percent and exceeded 120 percent of the corresponding average rate in the two prior years. Therefore, beginning the week of March 8, 2009, eligible unemployed workers will be able to collect up to an additional 13 weeks of UI benefits. 11973 DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Employment and Training Administration [TA–W–65,287] The Doe-Run Company; St. Louis, MO; Notice of Termination of Investigation Pursuant to Section 221 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, an investigation was initiated on February 18, 2009 in response to a worker PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Mine Safety and Health Administration Proposed Information Collection Request; Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations; Health Standards for Diesel Particulates Matter (Underground Metal and Nonmetal Mines) ACTION: Notice. SUMMARY: The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA95) [44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)]. This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed. Currently, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is soliciting comments concerning the extension of the information collection related to the 30 CFR 57.5060, 57.5065, 57.5066, 57.5067, 57.5070, 57.5071, and 57.5075—Health Standards for Diesel Particulates Matter (Underground Metal and Nonmetal Mines). DATES: Submit comments on or before May 19, 2009. ADDRESSES: Send comments to, Debbie Ferraro, Management Services Division, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2141, Arlington, VA 22209–3939. Commenters are encouraged to send their comments on computer disk, or via e-mail to Ferraro.Debbie@DOL.GOV. Ms. Ferraro can be reached at (202) 693–9821 (voice), or (202) 693–9801 (facsimile). E:\FR\FM\20MRN1.SGM 20MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 53 (Friday, March 20, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 11971-11973]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-6131]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employee Benefits Security Administration


Publication of Model Notices for Health Care Continuation 
Coverage Provided Pursuant to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget 
Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and Other Health Care Continuation Coverage, 
as Required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, 
Notice

AGENCY: Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.

ACTION: Notice of the Availability of the Model Health Care 
Continuation Coverage Notices Required by ARRA.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American 
Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 (Pub. L. 111-5). ARRA 
includes a requirement that the Secretary of Labor (the Secretary), in 
consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Health and Human 
Services, develop model notices. These models are for use by group 
health plans and other entities that, pursuant to ARRA, must provide 
notices of the availability of premium reductions and additional 
election periods for health care continuation coverage. This document 
announces the availability of the model health care continuation 
coverage notices required by ARRA.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Horahan or Amy Turner, Office of 
Health Plan Standards and Compliance Assistance, Employee Benefits 
Security Administration, (202) 693-8335. This is not a toll-free 
number.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) 
created the health care continuation coverage provisions of title I of 
the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the 
Internal Revenue Code (Code), and the Public Health Service Act (PHS 
Act). These provisions are commonly referred to as the COBRA 
continuation provisions, and the continuation coverage that they 
mandate is commonly referred to as COBRA continuation coverage. Group 
health plans subject to the COBRA continuation provisions are subject 
to ARRA's premium reduction provisions, notice requirements, and an 
additional election period. The COBRA continuation coverage provisions 
do not apply to group health plans sponsored by employers with fewer 
than 20 employees. Many States require health insurance issuers who 
provide group health insurance coverage to plans not subject to the 
COBRA continuation provisions to provide comparable continuation 
coverage. Such continuation coverage provided pursuant to State law is 
also subject to ARRA's premium reduction provisions and notice 
requirements but not the additional election period.

II. Description of the Model Notices

a. In General
    ARRA mandates the provision of three notices--a ``General Notice,'' 
an ``Alternative Notice,'' and a ``Notice in Connection with Extended 
Election Periods.'' Each of these notices must include: a prominent 
description of the availability of the premium reduction including any 
conditions on the entitlement; a model form to request treatment as an 
``Assistance Eligible Individual'';\1\ the name, address, and telephone 
number of the plan administrator (and any other person

[[Page 11972]]

with information about the premium reduction); a description of the 
obligation of individuals paying reduced premiums who become eligible 
for other coverage to notify the plan; and (if applicable) a 
description of the opportunity to switch coverage options. The Notice 
in Connection with Extended Election Periods must also include a 
description of the extended election period.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ In general, an ``Assistance Eligible Individual'' is an 
individual who is eligible for COBRA continuation coverage as a 
result of an involuntary termination of employment at any time from 
September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009; and who elects COBRA 
coverage (when first offered or during the additional election 
period).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Department of Labor (the Department) created these model 
notices to cover an array of situations in order to deal with the 
complexity of the various scenarios facing dislocated workers and their 
families. In an effort to ensure that the notices included all of the 
information required under ARRA while minimizing the burden imposed on 
group health plans and issuers, the Department created several 
packages. Each package is designed for a particular group of qualified 
beneficiaries and contains all of the information needed to satisfy the 
content requirements for ARRA's notice provisions. The packages include 
the following disclosures:
     A summary of ARRA's premium reduction provisions.
     A form to request the premium reduction.
     A form for plans (or issuers) who permit qualified 
beneficiaries to switch coverage options to use to satisfy ARRA's 
requirement to give notice of this option.
     A form for an individual to use to satisfy ARRA's 
requirement to notify the plan (or issuer) that the individual is 
eligible for other group health plan coverage or Medicare.
     COBRA election forms and information, as appropriate.
b. General Notice
    The General Notice is required to be sent by plans that are subject 
to the COBRA continuation provisions under Federal law.\2\ It must 
include the information described above and be provided to ALL 
qualified beneficiaries, not just covered employees, who have 
experienced a qualifying event at any time from September 1, 2008 
through December 31, 2009, regardless of the type of qualifying event.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Under ARRA the Secretary generally is responsible for 
developing all of the model notices with the exception of model 
notices relating to Temporary Continuation Coverage under 5 U.S.C. 
8905a, which is the responsibility of the Office of Personnel 
Management (OPM). In developing these notices, the Department has 
consulted with the Departments of the Treasury and Health and Human 
Services, OPM, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 
and plan administrators and other entities responsible for providing 
COBRA continuation coverage.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Department has created two versions of this notice. The 
abbreviated version is for individuals who have elected COBRA and are 
still covered after experiencing a qualifying event at some time on or 
after September 1, 2008 to advise them of the availability of the 
premium reduction and other rights and obligations under ARRA. The 
longer version includes all of the information related to the premium 
reduction and other rights and obligations under ARRA as well as all of 
the information required in an election notice required pursuant to the 
Department's final COBRA notice regulations under 29 CFR 2590.606-
4(b).\3\ Providing the longer notice to individuals who have 
experienced a qualifying event from September 1, 2008 through December 
31, 2009 will satisfy the Department's existing requirements for the 
content of the COBRA election notice as well as those imposed by ARRA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ ARRA provides that COBRA election notices already provided 
for qualifying events occurring during this time period but which 
did not include information on the availability of the premium 
reduction are not complete. As such, the end of the 60-day period 
for electing COBRA continuation coverage is measured from when a 
complete notice is provided. Moreover, although under COBRA a timely 
election may require a plan to make coverage available retroactively 
to the date of the loss of coverage, ARRA provides no new 
requirement for a plan to allow an individual to elect COBRA 
continuation coverage for any period prior to the first coverage 
period beginning on or after February 17, 2009.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

c. Alternative Notice
    The Alternative Notice is required to be sent by issuers that offer 
group health insurance coverage that is subject to continuation 
coverage requirements imposed by State law. The Alternative Notice must 
include the information described above and be provided to ALL 
qualified beneficiaries, not just covered employees, who have 
experienced a qualifying event at any time from September 1, 2008 
through December 31, 2009, regardless of the type of qualifying event. 
Continuation coverage requirements vary among States. Thus, the 
Department crafted a single version of this notice that should be 
modified to reflect the requirements of the applicable State law. 
Issuers of group health insurance coverage subject to this notice 
requirement should feel free to use the model Alternative Notice or the 
abbreviated model General Notice (as appropriate).
d. Notice in Connection With Extended Election Periods
    The Notice in Connection with Extended Election Periods is required 
to be sent by plans that are subject to COBRA continuation provisions 
under Federal law. It must include the information described above and 
be provided to any Assistance Eligible Individual (or any individual 
who would be an Assistance Eligible Individual if a COBRA continuation 
coverage election were in effect) who: had a qualifying event at any 
time from September 1, 2008 through February 16, 2009; AND either did 
not elect COBRA continuation coverage or who elected but subsequently 
discontinued COBRA. This notice MUST be provided by April 18, 2009, 
which is 60 days after the date ARRA was enacted.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ ARRA could be read to require Assistance Eligible 
Individuals with qualifying events from September 1, 2008 through 
February 16, 2009 who are already enrolled in COBRA coverage to 
receive both a General Notice and a Notice in Connection with 
Extended Election Periods with duplicate content. Because the COBRA 
election information would be of no practical importance to 
individuals already enrolled, plans may send just the abbreviated 
General Notice to such individuals and satisfy both ARRA notice 
requirements if the 60-day time frame for providing the Notice in 
Connection with Extended Election Periods is satisfied.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

III. For Additional Information

    For additional information about ARRA's COBRA premium reduction 
provisions, contact the Department's Employee Benefits Security 
Administration's Benefits Advisors at 1-866-444-3272. In addition, the 
Employee Benefits Security Administration has developed a dedicated 
COBRA Web page http://www.dol.gov/COBRA that will contain information 
on the program as it is developed. Subscribe to this page to get up-to-
date fact sheets, FAQs, model notices, and applications.

IV. Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

    According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13) 
(PRA), no persons are required to respond to a collection of 
information unless such collection displays a valid Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) control number. The Department notes that a 
Federal agency cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information 
unless it is approved by OMB under the PRA, and displays a currently 
valid OMB control number, and the public is not required to respond to 
a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB 
control number. See 44 U.S.C. 3507. Also, notwithstanding any other 
provisions of law, no person shall be subject to penalty for failing to 
comply with a collection of information if the collection of 
information does not

[[Page 11973]]

display a currently valid OMB control number. See 44 U.S.C. 3512.
    This Notice revises the collections of information contained in the 
ICR titled Notice Requirements of the Health Care Continuation Coverage 
Provisions approved under OMB Control Number 1210-0123. OMB has 
approved this revision to the ICR pursuant to the emergency review 
procedures under 5 CFR 1320.13. The public reporting burden for this 
collection of information is estimated to average approximately 7 
minutes per respondent, including time for gathering and maintaining 
the data needed to complete the required disclosure. Interested parties 
are encouraged to send comments regarding the burden estimate or any 
other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions 
for reducing this burden, to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of 
the Chief Information Officer, Attention: Departmental Clearance 
Officer, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N-1301, Washington, DC 
20210 or e-mail DOL_PRA_PUBLIC@dol.gov and reference the OMB Control 
Number 1210-0123.

V. Models

    The Department has decided to make the model notices available in 
modifiable, electronic form on its Web site: http://www.dol.gov/COBRA.

VI. Statutory Authority

    Authority: 29 U.S.C. 1027, 1059, 1135, 1161-1169, 1191c; Public 
Law 111-5, 123 Stat. 115; sec. 3001(a)(5), 3001(a)(2)(C), 
3001(a)(7), and Secretary of Labor's Order No. 1-2003, 68 FR 5374 
(Feb. 3, 2003).

    Signed at Washington, DC this 17th day of March 2009.
Alan D. Lebowitz,
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Employee Benefits Security Administration.
[FR Doc. E9-6131 Filed 3-19-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-29-P