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This section is intended to provide information about public sector Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) continuation of coverage. The information in this section will be of interest to state and local government employers that maintain group health plan coverage for their employees, their plan administrators and plan enrollees.

The landmark COBRA health benefit provisions became law in 1986. The law amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Internal Revenue Code and the Public Health Service Act to provide continuation of employer-sponsored group health coverage that otherwise might be terminated. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has advisory jurisdiction for the COBRA law as it applies to state and local government (public sector) employers and their group health plans. (See Related Link Outside CMS at the bottom of this page.) Click on "Federal Jurisdiction" on the left navigation bar for information about contacting the federal agencies that administer private sector COBRA and the continuation of coverage provisions for federal employees.

The COBRA law generally applies to group health plans maintained by employers with 20 or more employees in the prior year. The law does not, however, apply to plans sponsored by the governments of the District of Columbia or any territory or possession of the United States, certain church-related organizations or the federal government. (The Federal Employees Health Benefit Program is subject to generally similar, although not parallel, temporary continuation of coverage provisions under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Amendments Act of 1988.)

Individuals who work for a state or local government employer, and their dependents, should be aware of their rights regarding COBRA. A good starting point is reading your summary plan description (SPD) booklet, if a state or local government employer distributes an SPD to its employees. Most of the specific rules on COBRA rights may be found there or with the person who manages your health benefits plan. Also, this Website provides detailed information about COBRA. Use the left navigation bar to access information related to a specific area of COBRA-related inquiry. Also, see "COBRA Helpful Tips" in the downloads section below.  Additionally, the "More Information" page contains a link to COBRA questions and answers. If you are unable to find the COBRA-related information you are looking for on this Website, you may e-mail us at phig@cms.hhs.gov.


COBRA Helpful Tips (PDF, 116 KB)
Related Links Inside CMS

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Public Sector COBRA Law


Page Last Modified: 11/20/2008 3:49:13 PM
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