New York's continuation laws require that 36 months of continuation coverage be provided by insurance plans and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) sponsored by employers with fewer than 20 employees for all qualifying events. In addition, the state law requires that individuals whose federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) coverage would end after 18 months be provided with an additional 18 months of coverage for a total of 36 months. The state law requirements apply only to insured plans providing hospital, surgical, or medical expense coverage.
The New York 36-month continuation requirement applies to group insurance plans and HMOs providing hospital, surgical, or medical expense coverage, regardless of the size of the employer, that are not covered by federal COBRA (N.Y. Ins. Law Sec. 3221(m)). Continuation coverage must be provided to an employee and his or her dependents when coverage would otherwise cease because of termination of employment or termination of membership in the class or classes eligible for coverage. The maximum length of continuation coverage is 36 months if coverage would have otherwise terminated because of termination of employment and if coverage would have terminated because of the death of the employee, the divorce or legal separation of the employee from his or her spouse, the employee becoming entitled to Medicare benefits, or a dependent child ceasing to be a dependent child under the generally applicable requirements of the policy.
Continuation coverage may be terminated before the end of the 36-month period when a covered individual (after electing continuation coverage):
• Becomes entitled to Medicare;