Part of the American Rescue Plan, which President Biden signed into law in March, covers full COBRA premiums for those eligible from April 1 through September 30.
People who qualify should be notified soon if they haven't been already, as plans and insurers are required to notify anyone who is eligible by May 31.
Once you have received notice that you qualify, the Department of Labor explained that you have 60 days to opt in to premium assistance.
If you believe you qualify but haven't received the notice yet, fill out this form from the Department of Labor.
Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation told our NBC Responds team in Dallas that if you are already enrolled in COBRA, you should fill out and sign this form, then turn it in to your plan administrator. If you're trying to sign up for COBRA, Pollitz said you should turn in the form to your employer.
"I think it would be important for people to fill out this form and send it in and keep a copy so that it's all date stamped," she said. "And hopefully that will accelerate the process of the employer acting on it and putting your coverage back into effect."
In order to be eligible for this premium assistance you need to:
- Experience a COBRA qualifying event that is a reduction in hours or an involuntary end to a covered employee's work
- Elect COBRA continuation coverage
- Not be eligible for Medicare
- Not be eligible for coverage under any other group plan, such as a plan belonging to your spouse or your new employer
Pollitz told NBC Responds that some employers and COBRA administrators are still working out the details of how this relief will operate.
"I think some were kind of following more closely as this was developing in Congress. They saw this coming. They were already beginning to prepare for it and others are kind of finding out about it and having to now catch up," she explained.
If you believe you are eligible for this relief, Pollitz recommends you keep receipts for any out-of-pocket healthcare costs you have after April 1 so that you can submit the claims for reimbursement.