Both New Mexico law and the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) permit employees to continue their group health coverage if they leave the group for certain specified reasons. According to federal law, when comparing state and federal continuation rights, employees may apply the law that is more favorable to their situation. New Mexico law covers insured group health plans sponsored by all employers regardless of size but provides shorter continuation (NM Stat. Sec. 59A-18-16).
The New Mexico continuation requirement applies to every group health insurance policy that provides hospital, surgical, and medical expense benefits. Employees and their spouses and dependents have the right to continue group coverage for six months upon termination of employment. Continuation is not available if coverage terminates for nonpayment of premium, nonrenewal of the policy, or the expiration of the term for which the policy is issued. If an employee, spouse, or dependent is eligible for Medicare or other similar federal or state health insurance program, the right to continuation is limited to coverage under a Medicare supplement insurance policy.
When group coverage begins, the insurer must furnish to each covered employee and each covered family member who is 18 years of age or over a statement setting forth in summary form the continuation of coverage and conversion provisions of the policy.
The insurer must also notify in writing each employee, upon that employee's termination of employment, of the continuation and conversion provisions of the policy. The employer may provide this notice. The employer is to notify the insurer of the employee's change ...