If you're reading this, there’s a good chance that you already know what the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (or COBRA) is.
It's a federal law that allows employees and covered dependents to continue their health benefits if they experience a qualifying event causing them to lose coverage. Every private US company that had 20 or more full time employees or part-time equivalents the previous year is required to offer COBRA continuation. What you might not know, however, is that most states have passed their own legislation to offer coverage continuation to employees who do not fall under the regulations of Federal COBRA.
These state laws are often referred to as State Continuation, or “Mini COBRA”. Some states simply extend the same rules for Federal COBRA with few or no exceptions for employers with less than 20 employees, while for other states the differences from Federal COBRA can be much more apparent.
It should be clarified that these State Continuations should not be confused with state COBRA Extensions – as there are only 4 states that offer a COBRA Extension for medical coverage. Those states are California (Cal-Cobra) and New York who offer an 18-month extension, and Connecticut and Texas who offer 12- and 6-month extensions, respectively. If the qualifying event was a dependent event, then the participant would already receive 36 months of COBRA and state extensions would not apply. State COBRA Extensions are simply an extension of Federal COBRA once Federal eligibility is exhausted and only the medical can be extended, whereas State Continuation or Mini COBRA is legislated for employees who don’t qualify for Federal COBRA to begin with.
To learn more about what states offer State Continuation and what their general guidelines are like, check out our FREE Mini Cobra guide by state linked below: