Palm Beach Gardens COBRA Health Insurance Attorney
For many Florida workers, losing their job also means losing their health insurance. But if you do have employer-provided insurance, then you may have the right to continuing receiving coverage under federal and state laws. This is commonly known as COBRA health insurance.
The COBRA law is quite complex and often confuses both employers and employees alike. Many employees do not even fully understand their rights under the law and as a result may miss out on continuing health insurance coverage. Do not fall into that trap. The experienced Palm Beach Gardens COBRA health insurance attorneys at the Sconzo Law Office, P.A., can help ensure your rights are protected and your former employer fully complies with their legal obligations.
How COBRA (and Mini-COBRA) Protects You
Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in 1974 to provide certain regulatory standards for employee-sponsored benefit plans including health insurance. In 1985, Congress amended the ERISA through another law, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), to provide a safety net for employees and their families so they could continue receiving health coverage even after the employment relationship ended.
COBRA health insurance is available under any of the following conditions:
- The employee quits or retires.
- The employee is laid off or has their hours reduced below the threshold to otherwise qualify for insurance benefits under the employer’s plan.
- The employee is fired for any reason aside from gross misconduct.
The employee’s spouse and dependents may also receive COBRA health insurance under certain circumstances, including:
- The spouse and the employee divorce.
- The employee died.
- The employee loses their coverage for any of the reasons described above.
- The employee moves off the employer’s coverage because they become eligible for Medicare.
- The employee’s child loses their dependent status after “aging out” of the employer’s insurance plan.
COBRA coverage typically lasts for up to 18 months after the qualifying event. In the case of a spouse or dependent child who is eligible for a reason other than the employee’s qualifying event, coverage may continue up to 36 months (3 years). It is important to understand that the employee or other beneficiary must pay the full premium of the employer’s group rate to continue receiving coverage. The employer is not obligated to continue paying those premiums.
Florida also has its own “Mini-COBRA” law that mirrors the federal statute. The key difference between the two laws is that COBRA only applies to employers with at least 20 employees, while the Mini-COBRA statute covers smaller businesses. There are additional differences with respect to coverage and notice requirements.
Contact the Sconzo Law Office Today
If you are already dealing with the loss of your job or a related life-changing event, it may seem overwhelming to have to deal with insurance issues on top of that. Let us help. If you need legal advice or representation from a Palm Beach Gardens COBRA health insurance attorney, contact the Sconzo Law Group, P.A., today to schedule a consultation.