The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provides protection in any case in which a Guard or reserve servicemember (or a servicemember's dependent) has coverage under a health plan in connection with the servicemember's civilian job, including a group health plan (as defined in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974), and the servicemember is absent from their civilian job by reason of service in the uniformed services, the plan provides that the servicemember may elect to continue their health care coverage. The maximum period of coverage of a servicemember and their dependents under such an election shall be the lesser of:
- the 24-month period beginning on the date on which the person's absence begins; or
- the day after the date on which the person fails to apply for or return to a position of employment.
A servicemember who elects to continue health-plan coverage may be required to pay not more than 102 percent of the full premium under the plan of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) associated with such coverage for the employer's other employees, except that in the case of a servicemember who performs service in the uniformed services for less than 31 days, such person may not be required to pay more than the employee share, if any, for such coverage.
In the case of a health plan that is a multi-employer plan, as defined in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, any liability under the plan for employer contributions and benefits arising under this paragraph shall be allocated:
- by the plan in such manner as the plan sponsor shall provide; or
- if the sponsor does not provide to the last employer employing the person before the period served by the member in the uniformed services, or if such last employer is no longer functional, to the plan.
Except as provided above, in the case of a servicemember whose coverage under a health plan was terminated by reason of service in the uniformed services, an exclusion or waiting period may not be imposed in connection with the reinstatement of such coverage upon reemployment under this chapter if an exclusion or waiting period would not have been imposed under a health plan had coverage of such person by such plan not been terminated as a result of such service. This applies to the member who is reemployed and to any individual who is covered by such plan by reason of the reinstatement of the coverage of such person.