For many employees, taking or leaving a job comes down to one thing: healthcare insurance. Both Federal and California programs offer some leeway so employees are not necessarily constricted to a job just because of a need for healthcare.
After leaving a job, an employee can generally continue his group health coverage for himself and his family through the Federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act or “COBRA” which is available to certain employers and group health plans. Cal-COBRA is California’s equivalent to COBRA. It allows employees to keep their plan for up to 36 months, provided the employee pays the employer’s cost of continuing the coverage. Cal-COBRA is beneficial for people who use up their Federal COBRA, which only continues coverage for 18 months. If an employee’s Federal COBRA was eighteen months and they worked for an employer who had more than 20 employees, the employee can get 18 more months of coverage. If the employee worked for an employer with 2 to 19 employees, they can get up to 36 months of Cal-COBRA.
If an employee is fired or quits, his boss is required to notify their work health plan. The health plan must then notify the employee of his right to continued coverage. The employee has up to 60 days after notification to sign up.
This short-term health care option may also be available to employees who retire or reduce their work hours. An employee’s spouse and children could qualify for coverage if the employee passes away, legally separates from his spouse, becomes eligible for Medicare, or if your child is no longer a “dependent.”
Both Federal COBRA and Cal-COBRA provide an employee with the same benefits as other employees in the same plan. There are no restrictions because of pre-existing conditions.