The U.S. Department of Labor has updated its model COBRA and CHIP notices in order to clarify the availability of coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces or Exchanges, and provide information on special enrollment rights with respect to such coverage.

The new model notices include a COBRA General Notice (sometimes called an initial notice), which must be provided to participants within 90 days after coverage begins, a COBRA Election Notice, which must be provided to each COBRA "qualified beneficiary" upon the occurrence of a "qualifying event" such as termination of employment, and a CHIP notice, which must be provided annually before the start of each plan year to participants in states that have a Medicaid or CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) plan.

Employers that sponsor group health plans should revise their COBRA and CHIP notices to reflect the new model language.

The new model notices can be found on the DOL's website, www.dol.gov/ebsa.