Posted by: danielrashke | May 11, 2009

COBRA Changes Affect TASC

As Bob Dylan said so many years ago, “the times, they are a-changing.”  This certainly holds true in our industry as we continue to feel the impact of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and specifically its impact on COBRA coverage.  So far in 2009, sales of our COBRAToday compliance service are running 109 percent above last year’s sales.  To put this into a little perspective, in all of 2008 we entered and processed a total of 833 COBRAToday applications.  As of April 21, 2009 we have already entered and processed 545 COBRAToday applications.  Between January 1, 2008 and April 21, 2008 we entered and processed only 183 COBRAToday applications.  In 2009, we added 277 new COBRAToday Clients between March 1 and April 30, which represents a 14 percent increase overall in our COBRA Client base.  And this increase in new business — combined with an increase in activity from our existing COBRA Clients and Qualifying Beneficiaries — has impacted our Customer Service team as well.  Just in phone calls alone, we have experienced a 36 percent increase in COBRA related calls since February.

The continued good news: TASC was ready.  We are ready.  Ready, willing, and able to handle this increase in volume.  Our line-up of products and services is diverse.  Meanwhile, we continue to acquire and absorb smaller third-party administrators throughout the country, thereby gaining quality resources to assist with this increase in traffic.  Rest assured that while TASC continues to do the work (in some cases five times more work than usual), we avoid exploiting the situation: we don’t hit our Clients with additional charges.  Sure, you may experience some slight delays when accessing our website, or when calling a Customer Service Representative.  But by in large, these waits haven’t been excessive, and call volume is showing signs of returning to more normal levels.

On the flip side, this increase in the number of Clients needing COBRA assistance has accelerated some of the COBRAToday web improvements that have been underway.  Watch for more information on this development soon.  Also, the increased attention on COBRA has increased interest in two of our new services, ERISAEdge and FMLAMatters.

As always, thank you for working with us and for trusting us with the important job of manging and ensuring the compliance of your benefit plans.  Thank you, especially, as we continue to work through these changing times.


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