09 May What is the “Mini-COBRA” Statute A.R.S. § 20-2330?
Overview of A.R.S. § 20-2330
Here is a brief overview of what the new 2019 Mini-COBRA Law (A.R.S. § 20-2330) provides to small business employers who have up to 20 working employees in a given year. COBRA stands for the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, approved in 1985, which first went into effect in 1986 under President Ronald Reagan.
In Arizona, as of January 1, 2019, any small business employer (up to 20 employees) offering a health plan to its working employees, must provide a notice of continued medical insurance coverage within 30 days of a qualifying event. You can go to the Sample Notice of Continuation Coverage (red link) page to download the required notice as a Word document.
Previously, Arizona small business employers did not have to offer this. Only larger companies (20+ employees) were federally mandated to send a COBRA insurance coverage notice to terminated employees or enrolled surviving family members.
What is a Qualifying Event?
There are several qualifications for entitlement to continued medical coverage. Qualified reasons for allowance of continued medical insurance coverage are:
- Loss of employment (other than gross misconduct) because the company is going out of business, or company is down-sizing or other reasons;
- A qualified employee is separating from or divorcing a spouse who wishes to remain on medical coverage;
- An employee dies from other causes not related to a workplace accident, such as a fatal heart attack.
Termination of an employee, due to gross misconduct, means the employee and other family members are not qualified to remain on medical coverage.
When Mini-COBRA Must be Validated
The terminated employee or other family members on the medical coverage plan must elect to continue the medical coverage within 60 days of termination, and the first payment must be made within 45 days after that. The terminated employee pays the full cost of the medical insurance coverage, plus a 5 percent administrative fee directly to the employer to initiate the continued coverage.
Coverage Time Allowance
Continuation of the Mini-COBRA medical insurance goes for 18 months after job termination, or if another qualifying event occurs. If the terminated employee or a family member is also disabled, the coverage could possibly continue for another 11 months. The medical insurance also ends if premiums are not paid, if other insurance takes over the case (Medicare), or under other extenuating circumstances, such as a new job.
How Might This Connect with Worker’s Compensation?
You may have a work-related medical insurance claim because of an accident that happened, but your claim has been denied. If you are injured on the job, you must file immediately with your employer and with the state at the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) online. At the same time, if you are injured severely enough, or too ill, you may not be able to work, and you need medical coverage to visit a health care provider.
If your claim has been denied and you have also been terminated, you must consult with a worker’s compensation attorney to find out what you need to do next. Unless the employer is claiming gross negligence or conduct as the reason for your termination, you could start with the Mini-COBRA or COBRA insurance coverage, depending on the size of your employer’s business, while you are working out an appeal which could take some time to process.
It is important to know what options you have available to you, so you can receive the help you need. Call us at once for a consultation if you need help with your worker’s compensation claim. We can also tell you how to help yourself and your family while processing your appeal, based on your personal situation. 602-346-9009