The federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) permits employees to continue their group health coverage if they leave the group for certain specified reasons. Virginia law requires a group hospital, medical, surgical, and major medical policy to contain a provision for continuation of coverage under the group policy if the insurance on an individual covered under such a policy stops because the individual is no longer eligible for coverage (before that individual becomes eligible for Medicare or Medicaid benefits) (VA Code Sec. 38.2-3541). The continuation of coverage must continue under the policy for 12 months immediately following the date the individual’s eligibility is terminated.
The continuation of coverage requirement does not apply to employers covered by federal COBRA. According to federal law, when comparing state and federal continuation rights, employees may use the law that is most favorable to their situation.
To be eligible for the continuation coverage, an individual must have been continuously insured under the group policy for the three months immediately before the termination of eligibility.
The employer must provide each employee or other person covered under a group policy written notice of the option to continue coverage and the procedures and time frames for obtaining continuation of the group policy. The notice must be provided within 14 days of the employer's knowledge of the employee's or other covered person's loss of eligibility under the policy.
The application and payment for the extended coverage must be made to the employer within 31 days after issuance of the written notice from the employer, but in ...