The federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) entitles the majority of employees the right to temporarily continue their employer’s health care benefits when leaving active employment. The employee is responsible for paying their portion of coverage paid during their active employment, the portion of the policy the employer paid during their employment, and a two percent administration fee to continue the policy for a period of up to 180 days. COBRA is not an automatic benefit. Employees that leave a corporation must sign up to activate COBRA coverage.
An employer is required to forward COBRA benefit information to the former employee within 44 days of termination. The employee then has another 60 days to make a decision on continuing their coverage under the COBRA plan. We represent clients in disputes that can arise when an employer fails to meet their requirement of notifying the former employee, or does not offer the same health plan that was offered while the individual was employed. Other issues that require the counsel of a reputable lawyer include terminations occurring during mass layoffs or company shutdowns, or in the interpretation of separation and termination agreements. Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates negotiate these agreements early to avoid problems later, and are able to negotiate, mediate, arbitrate, or litigate for their clients if a dispute occurs.