Colorado COBRA Continuation Coverage
Employees in Colorado and certain members of their family whose group health plan ends due to a specified qualifying event may be eligible for a temporary continuation of their healthcare coverage at group rates, under a federal law known as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). And while group healthcare coverage for COBRA participants is usually more expensive than coverage for active employees, as the employer typically pays a part of the premium for active employees while COBRA participants typically pay the entire premium themselves, it is generally less expensive than an individual health insurance plan. If you and your family have lost your healthcare coverage in Colorado due to job loss or another significant life event, contact a knowledgeable COBRA continuation coverage lawyer today to discuss your rights under federal or state COBRA law.
What is COBRA?
Congress passed the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) in 1986, giving certain former employees, spouses and dependent children the right to choose to continue their healthcare coverage at group rates for limited periods of time. Known as “continuation coverage,” this temporary extension of health benefits is only available in certain circumstances in which coverage under the employer-sponsored health plan would otherwise be terminated. Under the federal COBRA law, these so-called “qualifying events” include:
- Job loss for reasons other than “gross misconduct”
- A reduction in work hours
- Divorce or legal separation from the covered employee
- The covered employee qualifying for Medicare
- Death of the covered employee
- Loss of “dependent child” status under the health plan’s provisions
Healthcare coverage under the federal COBRA law is only available to employees who work for businesses with 20 or more employees, and is offered for a maximum duration of between 18 and 36 months, depending on the type of qualifying event.
Colorado State Continuation Coverage
For employees who work for small businesses with between two and 19 employees, and who have been continuously covered under the employer’s health plan for six consecutive months, Colorado has enacted a state “mini-COBRA” law providing a similar continuation of healthcare coverage, in order to fill in the gaps left by the federal COBRA law. Under Colorado’s state continuation coverage law, eligible individuals may choose to extend their group health plan for a maximum period of 18 months, or until the individual becomes eligible for group coverage from another source. If an employee in Colorado is terminated from employment due to “gross misconduct,” and is therefore not eligible for continuation coverage under the federal COBRA law, he may still qualify for coverage under Colorado’s “mini-COBRA” law, so long as all the other requirements are met.
A Knowledgeable COBRA Continuation Coverage Lawyer Can Help
Rising medical costs have transformed healthcare coverage from a privilege to a necessity for most American families. Unfortunately, every year, millions of people lose access to their group health insurance plan due to a termination of employment, reduced hours at work, death of the covered employee, or another significant life event. If this is the case with you and your loved ones, you may be able to temporarily extend your employer-sponsored health plan at group rates, until you can secure healthcare coverage from another source, such as private health insurance or a group health plan at a new job. Consult an experienced Colorado COBRA insurance lawyer as soon as possible if you believe you and your family may qualify for a temporary continuation of your healthcare coverage.