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End of employment, cobra questions Texas

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  • End of employment, cobra questions Texas

    Hello and thanks for this great forum. I have been an employee of a large hospital system with great benefits for the past 10 years and in a difficult situation now.

    In August 08 I had a reoccurance of cancer along with other complications and used FMLA and now LOA and paying COBRA since November to maintain health, life, supplemental life and dental policys. My HR rep has told me that as per company policy after 35 weeks of LOA that they have to separate me from employment which for me will be April 25th. She also said I would then be paying a third party company my cobra payment instead of them.

    Question: does cobra mean the policys I have now remain exactly the same even with the 3rd party involved? Would I still be able to take accelerated benefits from the life insurance (there is a provision) if I have to??

    From reading other posts, I see that others are only offered to continue their health ins. thru cobra and have to convert their life ins to and individual policy. My employer surely wouldn't ask me to change my Cobra coverage now after paying it for 4 months right? I just don't want to lose my life ins if I can help it.

    thanks

  • #2
    The provisions for life and health insurance are different.

    Federal law requires that when you lose your employer-sponsored group health insurance for any reason whatsoever except gross misconduct, your employer must offer you the opportunity to remain on the health insurance plan at your own expense (COBRA). Many employers outsource it to a third party; that does not affect your benefits. You remain on exactly the same plan you've been on - in fact you do not have the option to change plans except under very limited circumstances.

    Life insurance is affected more by state law than by Federal. Federal law does not require that you be given the opportunity to keep your life insurance. Life insurance is not a part of COBRA. In some states you must be offered the opportunity to convert it to an individual policy - in other states such an opportunity is up to the employer. I don't know which your state says. The provisions of the plan after the conversion, including whether there is an ABO, is something you would have to take up with the carrier. Even if your employer does not offer the option, it's possible that the carrier might if you contact them directly. But discuss it with your employer first.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      Thanks for YOUR reply, cbg...much appreciated. What really concerns me is since I have already been paying cobra that includes the life and supplemental life (which by itself is a 54.00 premium), since November, could they now CHANGE the terms of my cobra package to exclude the life?

      Have you ever seen it done?

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      • #4
        The life insurance was not legally a part of COBRA, although the employer may have allowed you to continue it at shared cost and may even have called it all COBRA. As cbg advised, COBRA relates to medical insurance only.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          Thank you Patty. I see I have a lot of clarifications to make with HR.

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          • #6
            Agree, this is something you are going to have to talk to your employer/HR about.
            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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