As anticipated, yesterday the IRS announced that compliance with the new rules will not be required until the IRS is able to issue guidance/regulations with more details about what the rules mean and how to comply. Like most of the health reform act, in the absence of good legislative history and clear statutory language, the regulators are having to make things up as they go. The IRS has allowed for a comment period that extends to March 11, 2011. That means that the new regulations likely will not be out until summer at the earliest. Even then, they may have a deferred effective date.
Regarding the substance of the new rules, many questions remain to be answered as to how they apply to post-termination continuation of health benefits. The biggest question is whether the rules even apply at all to post-termination continuation.