The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) applies to groups with 20 or more full-time employees who work at least 50% of business hours. COBRA allows an employee the right to continue insurance under the group health plan for a period of 18 months after a qualifying event that would stop their health insurance. The qualifying event may be voluntary or involuntary however, involuntary termination due to gross misconduct may negate the employee’s right to COBRA coverage.
Eligibility For COBRA
The employer is responsible for notifying the terminated employee of their COBRA rights within 45 days that the employer-sponsored insurance would end. Missourians have 60 days to elect COBRA insurance or waive their right.
Certain qualifying events, such as disability, may allow a terminated employee to extend their COBRA benefits past the 18 month time limit. There are also special provisions for dependents/spouses of terminated employees based on the reason(s) for loss of coverage (i.e. death, divorce, etc.).
Missouri Has Mini-COBRA State Continuation Of Health Insurance
The Missouri State Continuation law works similarly as the federal COBRA legislation except that it applies to employers with 19 or fewer employees. The timelines for federal COBRA and all other features of the Act apply for the State’s continuation law.