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

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. Pennsylvania has enacted a "Mini-COBRA" law that gives employees of small businesses (two to 19 employees) who receive health insurance from their employers the right to purchase continuation health insurance for nine months after they leave employment. The law applies to employers not covered by federal COBRA.
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Covered employees and their eligible dependents who lose group health insurance coverage through a small employer as a result of a “qualifying event” are eligible for Mini-COBRA continuation coverage (40 P.S. Sec. 764j). Covered employees and eligible dependents must have been continuously insured under the group policy, or for similar benefits under any group policy that it replaced, for three consecutive months, ending with the employee’s termination.
Continuation coverage is not available for anyone who:
• Is covered or is eligible for coverage under Medicare;
• Fails to verify that he or she is ineligible for other employer-based group health insurance as an eligible dependent; or
• Is or could be covered by any other insured or uninsured group health coverage arrangement under which the person was not covered immediately before such termination (this last condition excludes Medical Assistance, CHIP, and adultBasic).
A qualifying event is an event that would result in the loss of coverage for the covered employee or eligible dependent, including:
• Death of the covered employee;
• Termination of employment (either voluntary or involuntary, but not for the ...

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