Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985, employers are required to continue offering health insurance benefits to workers and their covered dependents for a specified period after they leave the organization.
The law applies to all employers that have 20 or more workers and group health insurance plans (including self-insured plans). Note: Some states have lower minimums concerning the number of employees.
Under COBRA, an employee and any of his or her qualified beneficiaries may elect to continue health coverage if one of the following qualifying events occurs. The length of time coverage will continue depends on the qualifying event:
Qualifying Event Length of Coverage
Voluntary or involuntary
termination 18 months (29 months if disabled)
Reduction in hours (a strike,
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