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Which Employers Are Covered By COBRA?

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The federal law only applies to employers with 20 or more employees. Most states have laws that expand similar coverage to smaller employers.

COBRA applies to:

  • Private employers in all types of businesses without exception and.
  • State and local governments.

COBRA does not apply to:

  • Churches and religious organizations, which are exempt from the law.
  • Federal employees -- who are covered under a separate, similar law.

To determine if an employer has 20 or more employees:

  • Part-time workers are counted in proportion to their hours compared to full-time. For example, for COBRA purposes, an employee who works half of their normal work week will count as 50% of an employee towards the minimum of 20.
  • If an employer has more than 20 employees during only a part of a year: An employer is considered to have less than 20 employees during a particular calendar year if it had fewer than 20 employees on at least 50 percent of its typical business days during that year.

IF your employer is not covered under COBRA, it may be covered under a state, so-called "mini COBRA" law. For more information, see The State Laws.

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