Peacock Tales • 2010

COBRA Update

On July 10, 2009, Pennsylvania's "Mini COBRA Law" took effect, giving those who receive group health insurance from employers which are too small (between two and nineteen employees) to be covered by the federal COBRA law the right to pay for continuation coverage for up to nine months, for a single qualifying event. Pennsylvania's law differs from federal COBRA in several aspects, including a shorter time frame for the employer to send an election notice and a shorter election period for the employee or dependent.

The federal premium subsidy is also available under "mini COBRA." It applies to employees and their dependents who lose coverage due to involuntary termination between July 10, 2009 and March 31, 2010, reflecting the most recent extension to the subsidy under the Temporary Extension Act (TEA), enacted on March 2, 2010. Pennsylvania's "Mini COBRA Law" provides that this qualifying period may be extended again in accordance with federal law.

However, the recent federal extension, and any future federal extensions, to the subsidy's duration, does not and will not apply Pennsylvania's "mini COBRA," unless Pennsylvania likewise extends the duration.

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