Definitions and special rules For purposes of this part -
(1) Group health plan The term "group health plan" means an employee welfare benefit plan providing medical care (as defined in section 213(d) of title 26) to participants or beneficiaries directly or through insurance, reimbursement, or otherwise. Such term shall not include any plan substantially all of the coverage under which is for qualified long-term care services (as defined in section 7702B(c) of title 26).
(2) Covered employee The term "covered employee" means an individual who is (or was) provided coverage under a group health plan by virtue of the performance of services by the individual for 1 or more persons maintaining the plan (including as an employee defined in section 401(c)(1) of title 26).
(3) Qualified beneficiary (A) In general The term "qualified beneficiary" means, with respect to a covered employee under a group health plan, any other individual who, on the day before the qualifying event for that employee, is a beneficiary under the plan -
(i) as the spouse of the covered employee, or (ii) as the dependent child of the employee.
Such term shall also include a child who is born to or placed for adoption with the covered employee during the period of continuation coverage under this part.
(B) Special rule for terminations and reduced employment In the case of a qualifying event described in section 1163(2) of this title, the term "qualified beneficiary" includes the covered employee.
(C) Special rule for retirees and widows In the case of a qualifying event described in section 1163(6) of this title, the term "qualified beneficiary" includes a covered employee who had retired on or before the date of substantial elimination of coverage and any other individual who, on the day before such qualifying event, is a beneficiary under the plan -
(i) as the spouse of the covered employee, (ii) as the dependent child of the employee, or (iii) as the surviving spouse of the covered employee.
(4) Employer Subsection (n) (relating to leased employees) and subsection (t) (relating to application of controlled group rules to certain employee benefits) of section 414 of title 26 shall apply for purposes of this part in the same manner and to the same extent as such subsections apply for purposes of section 106 of title 26. Any regulations prescribed by the Secretary pursuant to the preceding sentence shall be consistent and coextensive with any regulations prescribed for similar purposes by the Secretary of the Treasury (or such Secretary's delegate) under such subsections.
(5) Optional extension of required periods A group health plan shall not be treated as failing to meet the requirements of this part solely because the plan provides both -
(A) that the period of extended coverage referred to in section 1162(2) of this title commences with the date of the loss of coverage, and (B) that the applicable notice period provided under section 1166(a)(2) of this title commences with the date of the loss of coverage.
(Amended Pub. L. 104-191, title III, Sec. 321(d)(2), title IV, Sec. 421(b)(3), Aug. 21, 1996, 110 Stat. 2058, 2088.)