Both Kansas law and the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) permit employees to continue their group health coverage if they leave the group for certain specified reasons. The Kansas law applies where there is no federal coverage. Thus, employees of employers with fewer than 20 employees and employees of any employers who lose coverage for reasons not covered by COBRA are subject to the Kansas requirements. Kansas, unlike COBRA, requires continuation when the employee is terminated for gross misconduct and when group coverage is discontinued in its entirety.
Continuation requirements in Kansas apply to insured employer-sponsored group plans that provide hospital, major medical, and surgical coverage (KS Stat. Sec. 40-2209(i)). The law applies regardless of the size of an employer's workforce. The insurer must provide 18 months of continuation to employees and their covered dependents who have been covered for three months and who lose coverage for any reason, including termination of employment for gross misconduct. The requirement does not apply to individuals covered by COBRA to the extent that COBRA provides equal or better protection.
Continuation under Kansas law does not have to be provided if the termination of the insurance under the group policy occurred because:
• The employee or covered dependents failed to pay any required contribution after receiving reasonable notice of such required contribution from the insurer;
• Any discontinued group coverage was replaced by similar group coverage within 31 days;
• The employee is or could be covered by Medicare;
• The employee could be covered to the same extent by any other insured or self-insured ...