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New York Health Insurance Continuation (COBRA): What you need to know

New York's continuation laws have been amended to 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 and not to self-insured plans. The amendment applied to policies and contracts issued, renewed, modified, altered, or amended on or after July 1, 2009, and before November 1, 2009, on the date that it was issued, renewed, altered, or amended. All other policies and contracts had to comply with the new requirement as of November 1, 2009. A special enrollment period had to be provided to individuals who would have been covered had the new requirement applied to all policies and contracts on July 1, 2009.
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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, but that are not covered by federal COBRA. 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 ...

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