The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985 requires most employers with group health insurance plans to continue offering employees health coverage under the employer's plan on a temporary basis in the event of any change in employment status.

The most significant aspect within this context is the requirement for continued coverage for employees and/or their dependents who would otherwise lose coverage after 18 months (36 months for dependents in the event of the employee's death).

Virtually all group health plans maintained by employers for their employees are subject to COBRA's provisions, including group health plans of corporations, partnerships, tax-exempt organizations and state and local governments. The Federal Government’s Group Health Plan, Small Employer Plans and certain Church Plans are exempt from COBRA's requirements.

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