Georgia COBRA Continuation Coverage
Both state law in Georgia and the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) give employees in Georgia the right to temporarily extend their group healthcare coverage if they leave the group for certain specified reasons. If you have lost your job in Georgia or had your hours at work cut, and you lost your healthcare coverage as a result, you may qualify for a temporary extension of your health benefits under federal COBRA law or Georgia’s state continuation coverage law. Contact an experienced Georgia COBRA continuation coverage attorney today to ensure that you understand your right to health insurance, and to recover the benefits you are entitled to.
What is COBRA?
Under federal COBRA law, employees or former employees with employer-sponsored healthcare coverage may qualify for a temporary extension of their health benefits in certain circumstances where their benefits would otherwise end, such as job loss or reduced work hours. COBRA also applies to spouses, former spouses and dependents who lose their healthcare coverage due to divorce or legal separation from the covered employee, death of the covered employee, the employee qualifying for Medicare, or a loss of dependent status under the health plan’s provisions, among other so-called “qualifying events.”
Before the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, employees who were fired or laid off lost their health insurance coverage immediately. With the passing of the Act, however, employees in Georgia who are terminated from employment for any reason other than gross misconduct may elect to continue their coverage for between 18 and 38 months, to cover the period of time they are between jobs. In most cases, coverage is more expensive for COBRA participants than for active employees, as the employer typically pays at least part of the premium for active employees. However, COBRA coverage is generally less expensive than an individual health insurance plan.
State Continuation Coverage in Georgia
Although federal COBRA only covers employers with 20 or more employees, Georgia has a “mini-COBRA” state continuation coverage law in place that applies to employers with between two and 19 employees. Under Georgia’s state continuation law, individuals whose health benefits under a group plan have been terminated, and who had at least six months of continuous coverage immediately prior to the termination of benefits, may be entitled to have their healthcare coverage extended through the end of the remaining month on the policy, plus three additional months thereafter. Under Georgia law, an individual may not be entitled to continuation coverage if the employee was terminated from employment for gross misconduct.
Consult an Experienced Georgia COBRA Coverage Lawyer
Losing your health benefits can be devastating for yourself and your loved ones, especially if you have a family member who requires regular medical care. However, if you qualify for COBRA continuation coverage, you may be able to extend your healthcare coverage for a limited period of time, until you are able to secure coverage from another source, either a new job or an individual health insurance plan. If you lost your healthcare coverage in Georgia, and you believe you may qualify for state or federal continuation coverage, consult a knowledgeable COBRA insurance attorney today to discuss your legal rights.