New York State Mini-COBRA Extended to 36 Months; Other State Mini-COBRA Laws

New York State passed a law in June 2009 that extends its mini-COBRA continuation health coverage to 36 months (termination under COBRA would trigger only 18 months coverage).  Thus, insured health plans that are subject to New York insurance law will have to offer continuation coverage for a total of 36 months, even though under the Federal COBRA law or prior NYS mini-COBRA, continuation coverage on termination of employment would only be required for 18 months.  A November amendment made this change effective on earlier of 11/1/09 or renewal of policy on or after 7/1/09.  There is currently a special enrollment period within 60 days of notice of new rule to elect to restart continuation coverage if continuation coverage terminated on or after July 1, 2009.  The NYS mini-COBRA extension and all state mini-COBRA laws only apply to insured plans.  For self-insured plans, state laws would be preempted by ERISA (even, according to most courts, where there is stop-loss insurance).  The COBRA stimulus act 15 month 65% subsidy is applicable to state mini-COBRA rules.  See memo at for further details.

Charles C Shulman, Esq, LLC
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Law
632 Norfolk Street, Teaneck, NJ 07666
345 7th Ave., 21 Fl., NY, NY 10001
Tel – 201-357-0577

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