by James A. Woehlke, Esq., General Counsel/COO MBL Benefits Consulting

Under the CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA), employers offering group health plans each year must notify employees of their potential rights to receive premium assistance under a state’s Medicaid or CHIP program. On February 4, 2010, the Department of Labor issued a model notice to satisfy this requirement. The notice may be obtained directly from the DOL by clicking on either of the following links:

http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/chipmodelnotice.doc – Word
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/chipmodelnotice.pdf – pdf

Employers may combine the notice with other information such as open enrollment materials. The requirement applies to employers with employees who reside in any of 40 states that currently provide premium assistance. See the list below.

This means that if a group health plan provides benefits for medical care directly or through insurance to participants, beneficiaries or providers in one of these states, the employer must provide the Employer CHIP Notice, regardless of the employer’s location or principal place of business.

As to timing, employers are required to provide these Notices by the date that is the later of
(1) the first day of the first plan year after February 4, 2010 or
(2) May 1, 2010.

So, for plan years beginning from February 5, 2010 through April 30, 2010, the Employer must issue the notice by May 1, 2010. And if the plan year begins after May 1 the notice must be made by the first day of the plan year. Again, the Notice must be provided annually.

States that provide Medicaid or CHIP assistance in the form of premium assistance subsidies as of 1/22/2010 include the following: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, contact MBL Benefits Consulting at jwoehlke@mblbc.com.

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