Oftentimes, Fort Lauderdale clients come to us here at The Law Offices of Levi Williams, P.A. facing the potential of losing their employee benefits. If you or your spouse’s employment status has changed, you may have concerns over whether or not your benefits will continue, specifically your group health plan coverage. Healthcare in the United States is the best in the world, yet that quality of care comes at a price. Thus, it’s important that you know what you still may be entitled to should a change in your situation threaten to end your coverage.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act was introduced in 1986 to help people whose continued group health plan coverage is put in doubt following job changes. According to the U.S Department of Labor, any private, state, or locally-sponsored group health plan offered through an employer that has more than 20 employees is subject to COBRA guidelines. All you need to qualify for continued coverage under COBRA is for either yourself or your spouse to have been employed one day before any event which would typically end your plan participation. Such events include either one of you quitting, being terminated, or seeing a reduction in working hours.
If and when this happens, your employer must notify the plan of the event within 30 days. After that, the plan administrator (either your employer or an external benefits provider) must provide you with a COBRA election notice within 14 days. If your coverage is threatened by any of the events described above, you and covered dependents may be entitled to an additional 18 months of coverage. The only exception to this would be if you or your spouse was let go due to “gross misconduct.”
More information on retaining your employee benefits can be found on our site.