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tdarling7

Insurance Canceled after asking for time off for surgery

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After working for my new employer in Michigan for three months I suffered a serious injury at work. I had worked their long enough to have just started on their health insurance plan. For the next 9 months I have been working one to two days a week as they were able to find work that fit my restrictions. During that time my employer had paid my health insurance premiums because I could not afford to pay them with the decreased wages I was receiving. A time came that I had to request time off for a surgery for personal reasons. Less than 24 hours of putting in my request (requested 1/22/2015 cancelled effective 1/23/2015) my employer cancelled my health insurance and offered me COBRA. When I got the cobra paperwork in the mail it said that I was being offered cobra because of "termination of employment". I questioned my employer about the reasoning for cobra and they stated that it was a mistake. They said that I was being offered cobra because my insurance was just simply cancelled. I questioned them about qualifying events, I said I thought the only way to be offered cobra was "termination of employment" or "reduction in hours worked" they said that it is also when insurance is simply cancelled. Can anybody advise me if my employers course of action against me is legal?

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Well, given your hours were radically reduced (I gather), not sure why they didn't choose that as qualifying event. 

 

Ultimately, I'd expect them to backtrack on what you were told and to tell whomever inquires that THAT was a mistake too.  (It's also unclear whether if you're only working two days a week that you'd qualify for that fringe benefit; you don't say ALL employees get it no matter how few hours they work.)

 

I'd google "COBRA qualifying events" (I'd paste the link to the DOL relevant pages, but my copy-paste feature here has been on the blink for a while).

As a practical v. legal matter, if they were covering your insurance for you when they weren't obligated to, I'd probably not have asked off for surgery "for personal reasons" (which indicates it's elective v. necessity).

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