The provisions of the Florida Health Insurance Coverage Continuation Act (FL Stat. Sec. 627.6692) parallel the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) but apply only to employers with fewer than 20 employees who are not covered by federal requirements. The continuation requirements under Florida law are similar to the federal requirements: 18 months for employees and dependents upon termination of employment or reduction in hours, but only 18 (as opposed to 36) months for spouses and dependents upon divorce, death of the employee, a child ceasing to be a dependent, or the employee becoming entitled to Medicare. Continuation may be extended for an additional 11 months at an increased premium if the individual is disabled at the time of the event initially triggering continuation rights.
Florida's continuation requirements apply to insured small employer health benefit plans that are not covered by federal COBRA.
A small employer is an organization that is actively engaged in business that has its principal place of business in Florida, employed an average of at least one but not more than 20 eligible employees on business days during the preceding calendar year, and employs at least one employee on the first day of the plan year.
Continuation coverage for 18 months must be provided to covered individuals who lose coverage because of the following qualifying events:
• The death of the covered employee;
• The termination or reduction of hours of the covered employee's employment (but not a termination because of gross misconduct);
• The divorce or legal separation of the covered employee from the covered employee's spouse;