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. Although many states also require continued coverage in many situations, Washington requires that insurers make this benefit available as an option. The employer may decide whether to offer continuation rights in addition to those required by COBRA. The insurer and the employer may negotiate the limits and requirements of the policy's continuation provisions.
Washington law also requires that employees who are out of work as a result of a strike be allowed to pay group insurance carriers directly for their coverage for up to six months (Wash. Rev. Code Sec. 48.21.075).
According to federal law, when comparing state and federal rights, employees may choose the law that is more favorable to their situations. This means that in Washington, employees will usually choose continuation under COBRA.