The first letter required by the DoL is an important protection for the employer called an "Initial Notice" also a "General Notice and must be mailed out when the employee first enrolls in the group health plan.
The initial notice is sent either 90 days from the date you become covered under the plan; or If later, the day on which the plan becomes subject to the continuation coverage requirements; or The day which the administrator is required to furnish the election notice to the participant.
The initial letter explains the general provisions of COBRA, but more importantly, it officially notifies the employee of their obligation to notify the employer of a divorce, disability, or child becoming too old to remain on the plan (including the child taking time off from college). Without this letter, the employer is not deemed to have officially notified the person of his / her obligations under COBRA, which could lead to serious consequences. The letters for COBRA/HIPAA administrators to send out in addition to the "Initial Notice" include:
(California only) Notice to California Terminating Employees which must be sent out to employees who terminate employment. This notice alerts the individual to the fact that Medi-Cal might pay the COBRA premiums for them in certain circumstances (HIPP letter).
COBRA election form
Letter to COBRA insureds who are believed to qualify for the disability extension under COBRA to go from 18 to 29 months.
Letter to COBRA insureds notifying them of their options during open enrollment.
Letter to COBRA insureds who are believed to qualify for extended COBRA coverage (usually from 18 to 36 months) due to a second qualifying event having taken place.
Letter to spouses (and children) who have been removed from the company health plans and who may have COBRA rights.
Letter to COBRA insureds who are nearing the end of their COBRA coverage and who have conversion rights.