The federal COBRA Act allows workers to stay on the their employer sponsored insurance when their jobs end or hours are reduced. The coverage is required to be offered to the covered employee, their spouse and dependent children. The State of California has the Cal-COBRA Act that extends benefits beyond the federal COBRA law.
California’s mini-COBRA Law Is Known As Cal-COBRA
The California Continuation Benefits Act, otherwise known as “Cal-COBRA” works similarly to the federal COBRA law, but extends the coverage to workplaces with 19 or fewer employees. As with the federal COBRA law, coverage isn’t required by government employers. Differently, church health plans are covered under Cal-COBRA.
Who Is Covered?
Workers that have the same qualifying event as they would under COBRA, except Cal-COBRA must be offered to employees by companies with 2 – 19 employees. When the federal COBRA time limit of 18 months runs out, California individuals may elect to continue coverage for another 18 months for 36 months total.
What Does It Cover?
Eligibility for Cal-COBRA extends to indemnity policies, PPOs, and HMOs only. Self-insured plans are not eligible. Unlike COBRA, church plans are eligible under Cal-COBRA. Cal-COBRA does not apply to individual health insurance.
Like the federal COBRA law, Cal-COBRA law allows all same-sex spouses as qualified beneficiaries. Cal-COBRA also provides coverage to registered domestic partners and their children.
Who Regulates Cal-COBRA?
Cal-COBRA is jointly regulated by the CDI and the DMHC depending upon the type of group coverage (indemnity or HMO).