Continuation of Group Health and Life Insurance Coverage (COBRA)

Cobra by  RussBowling

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Most group health plans and group life insurance arrangements are subject to laws requiring that continuation of coverage be offered to employees, their spouses, and their dependents if certain events occur that would otherwise cause these persons to lose their coverage under the plan (for example, the termination of a covered employee’s employment). These requirements are established by the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (“COBRA”)153 and similar state laws.154 Employers who offer these benefits must be aware of the applicable rules governing continuation of coverage, and must be prepared to provide the appropriate notices and election forms to covered individuals when these events occur.

The legal requirements in this area can be complex, and will depend on the type of plan the employer offers. For this reason, and because of the potential for liability in the event that an employer fails to comply with the continuation coverage requirements that apply to its plans, the employer should consult legal counsel regarding these requirements.

Below is a brief overview of federal COBRA and Minnesota law with respect to an employer’s continuation coverage requirements. The following posts should not be considered legal advice.

CREDITS: This is an excerpt from An Employer’s Guide to Employment Issues in Minnesota, provided by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development & Linquist & Vennum P.L.L.P., Tenth Edition, 2009. Copies are available without charge from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Small Business Assistance Office.

153 ERISA § 404(a)(1)(A)-(D); 29 USC § 1104(a)(1)(A)-(D)
154 ERISA § 410(b); 29 USC § 1110(b); M.S.A. 302A.521