When an employee loses a job, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires employers to offer continued health benefits at your own expense. in most cases.
Your employer is also required to provide you with a COBRA election notice in a timely manner. This document explains your entitlement to COBRA insurance and what steps you must take if you elect to continue receiving benefits.
If you have lost your job and believe you are owed COBRA benefits, here is what you need to know about COBRA election notices and what you are owed.
Understanding the COBRA Election Notice
Employers that are required to provide eligible former employees with COBRA insurance have to alert their group health plan administrator within 30 days of terminating a worker. Once the group health plan administrator is notified, they have 14 days to send a notice to the employee in question. COBRA election notices must also be provided to any eligible beneficiaries. For instance, if your spouse is also covered under health insurance offered by your employer, they need to be officially made aware of their rights to continue their health benefits as well.
The COBRA election notice must include specific information, such as:
- An explanation for what you must do to elect COBRA,
- How to alert your plan administrator if you choose to do so, and
- The deadline for electing to receive COBRA insurance
Other details the notice must cover include:
- The date coverage will begin, premium costs,
- Where/how to send premium payments,
- When to send premium payments,
- The identity of plan administrator,
- How long you may continue receiving coverage, and
- Triggers that may result in early termination of COBRA insurance
Employers are responsible for sending COBRA election notices within the established timeframe. If your employer fails to do so, contact a Florida employment law attorney . They will let you know what your options are.
On that subject, it is important to know your rights when an employer fails to comply with the requirements for providing COBRA notices. The following points are particularly worth keeping in mind:
Your Employer May be Required to Cover Certain Medical Expenses
If your employer fails to provide you with a COBRA notice in a timely manner, there may be a period of time during which you will be uninsured. During this time, if you incur any medical expenses that would have been covered under COBRA had you received the notice on time, you may be able to recover those expenses. In such situations it helps to work with an employment law attorney familiar with the relevant laws governing employers’ responsibilities in these cases.
Your Employer Can be Penalized
It is worth noting that employers who miss the deadline to provide COBRA election notices may incur up to a $110 a day civil penalty, which continues until they remedy the situation.
That said, courts can adjust the penalty depending on certain factors. For example, in previous cases, employers who did not provide COBRA notices according to the established timeline have incurred lesser fines if the employees who would have received the notices obtained other coverage and/or did not incur any medical expenses during the period in question.
You’re Also Entitled to COBRA Coverage Termination Notices
It is important to note that you should also receive a notice when COBRA insurance coverage is terminated for any reason. If you incur substantial medical expenses because you did not receive proper notice and were under the impression you still had COBRA insurance, you may be able to receive some form of compensation, although circumstances vary on a case-by-case basis.
That is why it is essential to contact a COBRA attorney if you think a COBRA election notice violation has occurred. They will evaluate the situation and determine if you have a case, helping you get what you are owed if they determine your case has merit.