COVID-19 Update

COBRA Grace Period Extensions Under EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01

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COBRA Grace Period Extensions Disaster Relief

Under EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01, you may qualify for additional time to pay your COBRA premiums. If you need more time to pay your COBRA premiums, please notify our Customer Service team at 800-556-3137.

In April 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Treasury enacted a temporary new rule allowing, among other things, more time to pay your COBRA premiums. This rule sought to assist qualified beneficiaries having trouble paying premiums timely because of COVID-19 and applied only during the COVID Outbreak Period which begin on March 1st 2020 and is currently in effect.

On February 26, 2021, the Department of Labor issued EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01, clarifying that the plan or participant-related deadlines subject to such Outbreak Period relief would be disregarded until the earlier of one-year from the date they were first eligible for relief, or 60-days after the end of the National Emergency declaration. On that applicable date, the timeframes for the previously disregarded deadlines would resume.

On October 6, 2021, the IRS issued Notice 2021-58, which further clarified the Outbreak Period extensions of the COBRA election and initial premium payment periods. Notice 2021-58 advised that subject to a limited transition relief rule, qualified beneficiaries who elected COBRA coverage beyond the 60-day election period would have one year and 105 days to make their initial CORBA premium payment. For qualified beneficiaries who elected COBRA coverage within 60-days of receiving their Election Notice, the initial premium payment would be due in one year and 45-days following the date of their COBRA election. While the Outbreak Period remains in effect, under this latest guidance qualified beneficiaries must pay subsequent months’ COBRA premiums no later than one year from their original due dates, including the applicable 30-day payment grace period.

On February 10, 2023, the White House announced another extension of the COVID National Emergency beyond March 1, 2023; while anticipating the emergency declaration itself will be terminated on May 11, 2023.  Under the current guidance from EBSA Notice 2021-01 (and Notice 2020-01), the Outbreak Period will end 60-days after the date the COVID National Emergency is lifted.  Based on this anticipated May 11, 2023 date (and absent any further guidance to the contrary), the Outbreak Period is effectively set to end July 10, 2023.  At that time, the normal deadlines for electing and paying for COBRA coverage will be enforceable.

As a reminder:

  • The rule only temporarily extended your premium due date.
  • Monthly premiums are not forgiven.
  • All coverages will be retroactively terminated if premiums are not paid in full.
  • Coverage will end the last day of the month for which full premium was received
  • If you received services, you may be responsible for any claims incurred once coverage ends.

For more information regarding the Outbreak Period relief, please see the following:

EBSA Notice 2020-01
EBSA Notice 2021-01
IRS Notice 2021-58


Reimbursement accounts

The more you know, the more you save.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Pay for eligible unreimbursed healthcare expenses with pre-tax dollars and watch your spendable income increase.

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Commuter Expense Reimbursement Account (CERA)

Use pre-tax dollars to pay for parking and commuter costs. Or mass transit and car pooling.

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Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)

Your employer makes contributions to your account. Depending on your plan design, funds may roll over at the end of the year. Please check your plan documents for your plan provisions.

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Dependent Care Reimbursement Account (DCA)

Have children 12-and-under? Or a disabled spouse? Pay for eligible daycare and dependent expenses with pre-tax dollars.

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Health Savings Account (HSA)

An HSA can be coupled with a qualified High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to help plan for medical expenses now and through retirement.

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Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA)

Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA): A LSA is an employer funded, post-tax spending account that promotes healthy habits and overall wellbeing.

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Under COBRA regulations, employers with 20 or more employees are required to offer a temporary extension of health coverage to you and your eligible dependents in certain instances where coverage is interrupted due to qualifying events.


Wondering about your payment options? We’re here to answer your questions about eligibility and premiums.

Group members

BenefitHelp Solutions provides comprehensive eligibility administration and premium collection for many prominent organizations, including:

Oregon Educators Benefit Board (OEBB)

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Public Employees’ Benefit Board (PEBB)

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Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS)

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