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Definitions   

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The definitions contained in this section govern the construction of this article.

(a) "Continuation coverage" means extended coverage under the group benefit plan in which an eligible employee or eligible dependent is currently enrolled, or, in the case of a termination of the group benefit plan or an employer open enrollment period, extended coverage under the group benefit plan currently offered by the employer.

(b) "Group benefit plan" means any health care service plan contract provided pursuant to Article 3.1 (commencing with Section 1357) to an employer with 2 to 19 eligible employees, as defined in Section 1357, as well as a specialized health care service plan contract provided to an employer with 2 to 19 eligible employees, as defined in Section 1357.

(c) (1) "Qualified beneficiary" means any individual who, on the day before the qualifying event, is an enrollee in a group benefit plan offered by a health care service plan pursuant to Article 3.1 (commencing with Section 1357) and has a qualifying event, as defined in subdivision (d).

(2) "Qualified beneficiary eligible for premium assistance under ARRA" means a qualified beneficiary, as defined in paragraph (1), who (A) was or is eligible for continuation coverage as a result of the involuntary termination of the covered employee's employment during the period specified in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 3001 of ARRA, (B) elects continuation coverage, and (C) meets the definition of "qualified beneficiary" set forth in paragraph (3) of Section 1167 of Title 29 of the United States Code, as used in subparagraph (E) of paragraph (10) of subdivision (a) of Section 3001 of ARRA or any subsequent rules or regulations issued pursuant to that law.

(3) "ARRA" means Title III of Division B of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or any amendment to that federal law extending federal premium assistance to qualified beneficiaries.

(d) "Qualifying event" means any of the following events that, but for the election of continuation coverage under this article, would result in a loss of coverage under the group benefit plan to a qualified beneficiary:

(1) The death of the covered employee.

(2) The termination of employment or reduction in hours of the covered employee's employment, except that termination for gross misconduct does not constitute a qualifying event.

(3) The divorce or legal separation of the covered employee from the covered employee's spouse.

(4) The loss of dependent status by a dependent enrolled in the group benefit plan.

(5) With respect to a covered dependent only, the covered employee' s entitlement to benefits under Title XVIII of the United States Social Security Act (Medicare).

(e) "Employer" means any employer that meets the definition of "small employer" as set forth in Section 1357 and (1) employed 2 to 19 eligible employees on at least 50 percent of its working days during the preceding calendar year, or, if the employer was not in business during any part of the preceding calendar year, employed 2 to 19 eligible employees on at least 50 percent of its working days during the preceding calendar quarter, (2) has contracted for health care coverage through a group benefit plan offered by a health care service plan, and (3) is not subject to Section 4980B of the United States Internal Revenue Code or Chapter 18 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. Section 1161 et seq.

(f) "Core coverage" means coverage of basic health care services, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1345, and other hospital, medical, or surgical benefits provided by the group benefit plan that a qualified beneficiary was receiving immediately prior to the qualifying event, other than noncore coverage.

(g) "Noncore coverage" means coverage for vision and dental care.

(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 24, Sec. 1.)