FMLA COBRA Benefits
Sidney L. Gold & Associates understand the importance of healthcare coverage for people out of work. COBRA is an acronym that stands for the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act that offers a large portion of employees the right to temporarily maintain their employer’s healthcare plan upon separation from the company. This coverage is not mandatory, however employers are required to forward COBRA benefit information to former employees within 44 days of the date the employee terminated their position. The employee has 60 days to decide whether they want to continue their coverage under the COBRA plan.
COBRA coverage is not free. The employee is required to pay for the entire plan, but gets the benefit of the employer’s rates and coverage. The employee will pay the amount they paid for health insurance during active employment as well as the employer’s portion of the coverage, and an administration fee of approximately two percent. Coverage lasts for a period of up to 180 days. The employee is responsible for signing up for this coverage within the 60 day decision period or will forfeit their right to continue this coverage.
Disputes can occur with COBRA coverage if an employer fails to supply the COBRA benefit information to the former employee within the 44 day requirement. If an employer does not offer the same benefit package that was available to the employee during their active employment, a competent leave of absence and FMLA lawyer can provide mediation, arbitration, and possible litigation so the employee gets the coverage they are entitled to continue. Employees that are terminated due to a company closure or mass layoff should seek the advice of counsel to ensure they receive the benefits to which they are entitled to receive.