DoL Unveils COBRA Appeals Process

May 21, 2009 ( - The U.S. Department of Labor has announced the appeal process individuals can use if they are denied a premium subsidy for their group health plan continuation coverage.

According to a DoL press release, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) requires many group health plans to temporarily continue health coverage for employees and their families following termination of employment at the employee’s own expense.   The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) signed into law by President Obama in February extended the period during which “premium assistance” would be available to individuals who were “involuntary terminated between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009.” (see  IRS Publishes New COBRA Eligibility GuidanceEBSA Provides COBRA Subsidy Publications ).

The appeal process allows applicants who are denied the subsidy to request a review by the Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). Individuals seeking a review must complete the department’s appeal form in order to begin the review process.  

Steps Outlined

According to the announcement, through the following steps, applicants can submit the completed application online, by mail or fax.

  • Go to , and download the application or complete online.
  • Answer eligibility questions on the application to the best of your knowledge and ability.
  • Attach any documents relevant to the department’s review of the application.
  • Include complete contact information (e.g., daytime phone number, an alternate phone number, and an email address, if available).
  • Separate application(s) must be completed for any family member whose plan information is not identical to the information you provide.
  • Keep for your records a copy of the application(s) and original supporting documentation.

Individuals requiring assistance may also contact EBSA at 1-866-444-3272 or visit its dedicated Web page at .  

According to the DoL, the Web page also contains additional frequently asked questions to help dislocated workers, their families and their employers understand the requirements.