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

The federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives employees the right to continue their group health insurance coverage if they leave the group for certain specified reasons. Illinois has a similar law that covers more employers but generally offers less protection. Illinois, however, offers greater protection to spouses aged 55 or older and their dependents upon divorce or death of the employee. According to federal law, when comparing state and federal continuation rights, employees may select the law that is more favorable to their situation.
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Termination of employment or reduction in hours. Individuals whose hospital, surgical, or major medical insurance terminates due to termination of employment or reduction in hours must be offered continuation of coverage for themselves and their dependents for a period of 12 months (215 ILCS 5/367e). To be eligible for this coverage, an individual must have been continuously covered for at least three months immediately before the termination of coverage. Continuation does not have to be offered:
• If the employee was discharged because of the commission of a felony or theft in connection with his or her work for which the employer was in no way responsible (provided the employee admitted his or her commission of the felony or theft or was convicted or placed under court order supervision for committing such a felony or theft); or
• To an individual covered by Medicare or another group policy.
Continuation following termination of employment or reduction in hours may be terminated before the end of the 12-month period if:
• The employee fails to make timely payment of a required ...

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