California COBRA Coverage
COBRA continuation healthcare coverage gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the option to continue coverage provided by the employer’s group health plan for a limited period of time in certain circumstances where the coverage would otherwise end, such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, divorce or legal separation from the covered employee, or death of the covered employee. If you lost your job or your hours at work were cut, and you believe you and your loved ones may qualify for continuation coverage under federal COBRA law or California’s Cal-COBRA state law, contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney today for legal help. With a qualified COBRA lawyer on your side, you can ensure that your legal rights are protected, and that you receive the healthcare benefits you and your family are entitled to.
What is COBRA?
COBRA, which stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, is a federal law that applies to employers with group health plans that cover 20 or more employees, allowing employees and their families to keep their health benefits for at least 18 months under certain circumstances, including if the employee loses his job or his hours are cut. Congress passed the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act in 1985, to provide temporarily extended health benefits to part-time and full-time employees with employer-sponsored health benefits who were laid off, to cover the period of time they were between jobs. The federal law amended the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Internal Revenue Code and the Public Health Service Act, to provide continuation of group healthcare coverage that would otherwise be terminated.
Cal-COBRA is a state law in California that applies to employers with group health plans that cover between two and 19 employees, allowing employees to keep their benefits for up to 36 months following a qualifying life event, such as the following:
- The employee’s job ends
- The employee dies
- The employee’s hours are cut
- The employee enrolls in Medicare
- You divorce or legally separate from the employee
- You are no longer a dependent of the employee
Cal-COBRA also applies to workers who have health plans through an employer who has 20 or more employees, and have used up their federal COBRA coverage. For instance, a California employee who loses his job or has his hours cut at work can extend his healthcare coverage for up to 18 months under the federal COBRA law, and then for an additional 18 months under Cal-COBRA. If, however, the employee’s federal COBRA lasted 36 months, he is not eligible to extend his healthcare coverage under Cal-COBRA.
Contact a CA Employment Law Attorney for Help
California workers with employer-sponsored healthcare plans who lose their jobs may have the option of temporary continuing their healthcare coverage for up to 36 months, under federal COBRA law and/or the state of California’s Cal-COBRA law. It’s important to note that, while group health coverage for COBRA participants can be more expensive than health coverage for active employees, as COBRA participants are typically required to pay the entire premium themselves, it is usually less expensive than individual health coverage. If you lost your job in California, and you think you may be entitled to a temporary continuation of healthcare benefits, consult an experienced COBRA lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. A reputable employment law attorney can ensure that you and your loved ones receive the healthcare coverage you deserve, with health benefits that are equal to the benefits you had immediately before qualifying for continuation coverage.