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COBRA Qualifying Events

Qualifying events are "triggers" that can cause the loss of group health coverage and may result in the right to COBRA coverage. The type of qualifying event determines who the qualified beneficiaries are for that event.

Note that the information below outlines qualifying events under federal COBRA. While many state "mini-COBRA" laws are similar to federal COBRA, some state laws may permit additional or different qualifying events

Qualifying Events for Covered Employees

The following are qualifying events for a covered employee, if they cause the covered employee to lose health coverage:

  • Termination of the covered employee’s employment (whether voluntary or involuntary) for reasons other than gross misconduct; or
  • Reduction in the covered employee’s hours of employment.

However, the term "gross misconduct" is not defined under federal law. Employers should consult with a knowledgeable employment law attorney to discuss any issues related to gross misconduct and COBRA as it relates to a particular employee.


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