Continuation Of Medical Benefits

If an employee has coverage under an employer-based health plan, the plan must permit the employee to elect to continue coverage under certain circumstances. For example, for service less than 31 days, the employee cannot be required to pay more than the regular employee share for health plan coverage. In addition, the health plan must permit employees to elect COBRA-like coverage for up to 24 months. The regulations do not provide specific guidance on procedures for employees to elect such coverage and for employers to collect payment for such coverage. The regulations provide for retroactive reinstatement of coverage under certain circumstances when an employee failed to make a timely election due to military necessity. Employers must reinstate plan coverage for returning employees without an exclusion or waiting period, but may impose an exclusion or waiting period for certain injuries covered under Veterans Administration disability programs. Employers may need to amend health care plans to comply with the new regulations.