New Jersey “Mini-COBRA”2011 – Brochures Practical Advice
New Jersey Small Employer Continuation Coverage Rules
The New Jersey Continuation Coverage Rules (NJCCR) mandate the continuation of health insurance coverage for certain employees, their spouses and dependent children.
Most employers are familiar with the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). COBRA applies to employers that offer their employees health coverage and have employed 20 or more workers for at least 50 percent of the business days during the preceding calendar year. Although COBRA does not apply to small employers with 19 or less employees, the NJCCR, which is sometimes referred to as “NJ Baby COBRA” or “NJ Mini-COBRA,” pertains to employers that offer their employees health coverage and employ between two and 50 eligible employees, the majority of whom are employed in New Jersey, for at least 50 percent of the business days during the preceding calendar year quarter. Employees who qualify under COBRA are ineligible for coverage under NJCCR.
Navigating through the NJCCR can be tricky, but employers should ensure that they understand precisely what is required of them in terms of who is eligible for coverage, what events may qualify eligible employees for coverage, when coverage begins and ends, and what notices must be provided to eligible employees. Noncompliance, even where it is inadvertent, can lead to substantial financial liability. To assist employers with these tasks, an overview of the basic rules and requirements is provided below.