Your employer just let you go and you are worried about how you will handle health insurance for your family. Unfortunately, your employer increases your worries because it fails to provide you with information concerning your right to continue your health insurance.
You should be aware that there is a federal law -- The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act ("COBRA") -- that provides you with rights in this situation. COBRA gives employees who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by the plan under certain circumstances.
COBRA Qualifying Events
Several events that can cause workers and their family members to lose group health coverage may result in the right to COBRA coverage. These include:
- Voluntary or involuntary termination of the covered employee's employment for reasons other than gross misconduct;
- Reduced hours of work for the covered employee;
- Covered employee becoming entitled to Medicare;
- Divorce or legal separation of a covered employee;
- Death of a covered employee; or
- Loss of status as a dependent child under plan rules.
One of the most important rights an employee has is the right to be notified of his or her rights under COBRA within a certain number of days after a qualifying event. An employer (or administrator) typically must provide to the employee notification of the employee's COBRA rights within a certain number of days. When an employer does not do so, it can be liable to you for several types of damages.
If you have suffered any of the above events, and your employer has not provided you with a COBRA notice, please contact an employment lawyer at Weiner & Sand LLC.