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COBRA and Premium Assistance

The federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 gives workers who work for employers with 20 or more employees and their families the right to continue to purchase group health insurance for limited periods of time when they would otherwise lose coverage due to certain events. This coverage extension is often called “COBRA coverage.” Qualifying events include voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in hours, transition between jobs, death, divorce and other life events.

Qualified individuals may be required to pay up to 102% of the premium cost. The length of time that a person may have federal COBRA coverage depends on why the person is losing coverage and can be from 18 to 36 months.

New York State Continuation Coverage

New York State’s continuation coverage law resembles the federal COBRA. It applies to employers with fewer than 20 employees.

Continuation coverage gives workers who work for employers with fewer than 20 employees and their families the right to continue to purchase group health insurance for limited periods of time when they would otherwise lose coverage due to certain events. Qualifying events include voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in hours, transition between jobs, death, divorce and other life events. Qualified individuals may be required to pay up to 102% of the premium cost. People eligible for continuation coverage may have up to 36 months of coverage.

Continuation Coverage Extension to 36 Months

New York State continuation coverage also grants people who are eligible for federal COBRA coverage who are not entitled to up to 36 months of coverage under federal law

In 2009 Chapter 236 of the Laws of 2009, improved access to health insurance for New Yorkers by making state continuation coverage (“mini-COBRA”) available for a total of 36 months. Under the law, people eligible for federal COBRA or state continuation coverage may receive a total of 36 months of coverage.

Assistance for Eligible Entertainment Industry Employees

The State of New York is committed to helping all New Yorkers obtain and maintain affordable health insurance.

The Continuation Assistance Demonstration Program for Entertainment Industry Employees is a pilot program created in 2004 to assist eligible entertainment industry employees in maintaining health insurance during episodic employment.

This project was designed for entertainment industry employees and was created to address the unique episodic employment conditions in the entertainment industry. It is designed to create and evaluate a health insurance model which could be applied to other industries characterized by seasonal and episodic employment.

Updated 01/08/2014

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