Massachusetts State Law

We're closing a plant in Massachusetts. Massachusetts General Law Chapter 175, 110G, states that every group insurance policy must include coverage guaranteeing that no employee who loses his or her job bacause of a plant closing will remain insured for 90 days after termination, unless the employee is otherwise entitled to similar benefits during that period. During the 90-day period, both the employer and the employee must pay their respective shares of the premiums due. Does COBRA count as a "similar benefit", or does the fact that the employee has to pay the full cost for COBRA (active employees split the cost with the employer) obligate us to keep the group insurance in effect for 90 days?


  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I do know this. Massachusetts law cannot override or supersede the federal COBRA regulations.
  • I have to disagree with Don. This is MA's plant closing law, which offers additional displaced-worker perks to employees above federal WARN requirements. In this instance, the federal and state statutes must be observed together (it's not a case of one trumping the other, like FMLA v OFLA). I have asked this question of outside counsel in the last year & been advised that we would indeed be responsible for maintaining coverage for the 90 days. There may be some additional considerations, though. I.e., if you are offering your employees any paid benefits as part of severance - that may factor into the 90 day obligation. The MA state rapid response unit was recently folded into the Department of Employment & Training, and may offer some "free" insight into this requirement for you.
  • Perhaps I used the wrong words. What I intended to say is that no state law can nullify or negate the federal statute. Sure, state law can add to, compliment and give things more generous. I assumed the question related to not offering the minimum that the federal law requires.
  • Thanks for the responses. I'll check with the applicable state departments to make sure we comply with all requirements. At the moment, I'm trying to get an estimate of costs. This forum gives so many different approaches to problems that it helps to get input from you Forumites before going to any other source.
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