On May 5, 2010, Governor Rell signed into law Public Act 10-13 (the “Act”), extending COBRA continuation coverage in Connecticut to 30 months. The State Insurance Department followed up passage of the Act by issuing a bulletin on May 11, 2010, a copy of which can be found here.

The Act requires fully insured group health plans issued in Connecticut and subject to federal or state COBRA continuation coverage provisions to permit qualified beneficiaries to elect COBRA continuation coverage for up to 30 months (as opposed to 18 months as currently required). The extended coverage period applies to qualifying events due to layoff, reduction in hours, leave of absence or termination of employment (except when the termination of employment is due to the employee’s death or gross misconduct). The Act applies to large and small employer groups, but it does not apply to self-insured plans.

The extended 30-month coverage applies to plan participants who experience a qualifying event on or after May 5, 2010 or are who currently receiving continuation coverage. Although the law requires health insurers (and health care centers that have issued group health policies) to provide notice of the extended continuation coverage on or before July 4, 2010, employers will likely be contacted by their carriers to assist in providing the requisite notice.

Finally, the Act does not alter or extend the 15-month COBRA subsidy under last year’s federal stimulus bill (see our recent discussion on the COBRA subsidy here). However, qualified beneficiaries would receive 15 months of unsubsidized continuation coverage after termination of the 15-month subsidized coverage period.

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