On July 29, 2009, Governor Paterson signed into law a bill (A8400) which extends health insurance continuation coverage under a group health insurance plan subject to New York state law from 18 to 36 months. Previously, the state continuation coverage law (which generally mirrors the federal COBRA law, but is applicable to employers with fewer than 20 employees), provided continuation coverage in the event of termination, reduction in hours of employment or loss of eligibility for a period of up to 18 months. The new bill also provides that an individual who has exhausted continuation coverage under the federal COBRA law is permitted to maintain coverage for up to 36 months, if the individual is entitled to less than 36 months of federal COBRA benefits. 

The new law is retroactively applicable to policies and contracts issued, renewed, modified, altered or amended on or after July 1, 2009.

Note: This article was published in the September 2009 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.

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