The federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) permits employees of employers with 20 or more employees to continue their group health coverage if they leave the group for certain specified reasons. Maine's healthcare continuation law covers group health plans of employers not covered by federal COBRA because they have fewer than 20 employees, but applies in fewer situations and provides shorter continuation than federal law.
Maine's continuation requirements cover plans that provide hospital, surgical, and medical benefits that are not covered by federal COBRA. Continuation is required for individuals whose group coverage was terminated because of:
• A temporary layoff, or
• A loss of employment because of a work-related injury or disease that is covered by workers' compensation.
This Maine continuation requirement applies to policies issued in other states to the extent they cover employees whose primary workplace is in Maine. In addition, the law only applies if the employee had been covered by the group policy for at least 6 months. Continuation does not have to be provided if the employee is eligible for Medicare or has other similar health insurance coverage under an individual or group insurance plan or under state or federal law. Because the federal premium subsidy has ended, individuals who are permanently laid off are no longer eligible for state continuation (ME Rev. Stat. Tit. 24A Sec. 2809-A).
Dependents. The employee may elect continuation for the employee only, for the employee plus dependents, or for dependents only. To be eligible for continuation coverage, dependents must have been covered for at least 3 months under the group policy unless they ...