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Termination of Employment & Cobra in PA

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  • Termination of Employment & Cobra in PA

    I work for a major health care insurance company. Our handbook states after 6 months of absentence from work the employee will be terminated from there job. I have been on std for the past 6 months due to back problems.
    My job is being terminated on 06/06/09 that also is the day I am having back surgery . Is this legal termination of employment since the handbookd states this information?

    Also I would like to know if l am entitled to the
    reduced cobra paymemts under the new cobra law .
    In reading the new law there were no guidelines written on what was considered an involuntarily termination of employment so they are following the irs guidelines.

    I consider this an involuntary termination of employment since I did not cause the back issue and this is not due to any kind of accident . I hgve spinal stenosis and I am having a lamenectomy.


    I have been trying to get an answer from my hr department but they referred me to our cobra carriersince they don't seen to have the answer to my question.
    I called our cobra carrier and they stated it is on how the employer codes your termination and they won't know until they recieve the information from my employer.

    I have tried to research this information but have found many conflicting statements and do not know what my legal rights are as an employee. I have been with the company for 7 1/2 years .

    Can you please help me on these issue this has been a very trying time for me. I am a 59 yr and widower.

  • #2
    Even if FMLA applied, by law your job is only protected for a total of 12 weeks. Therefore, yes, your employer can terminate you for being off 6 months.

    I don't see why this would not be an involuntary termination of employment.
    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

    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

    Comment


    • #3
      From the seminars I have attended, it sounds like this would make you eligible for the subsidy.
      I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
      Thomas Jefferson

      Comment


      • #4
        How can I find out for sure that my termination of employment is considered involuntarily. I can't seem to get a straight answer from my hr dept and when I called by cobra carrier and gave them the information I had found on involuntarily termination the cobra department directed me to the dept of labor because they have not received my termination date and therefore they do not have the coding as to whether my termination is considered voluntarily or involuntarily .Even though my job is being terminated on 06/06/09 I have medical coverage until 06/30/09. I can not afford to be without medcial coverage and would like to have as much information as I can because I have a feeling my company is going to code my termination as voluntarily not involuntarily .

        Thanks for all your help. I am trying to be as prepared as I can be if the coding is listed as voluntarily.

        Comment


        • #5
          the cobra department directed me to the dept of labor

          What did the Department of Labor say when you called them?
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            Just spoke with the dept of labor.

            They stated the company codes my termination. Since the company has a policy that after 6 months of being off work the employee will be terminated. So the company could code my termination as voluntarily and not involuntarily. If they code it voluntarily then I would have to appeal according to the representative that I spoke with at the Dept of Labor.

            She really was not very helpful. Gave me the website of www.dol.gov/cobra 2009 27 # 4 which I have all ready been to that website and the wording is very confusing.

            When I read the information on the site it sounds like I'm elgible. But the way it is worded I feel there is a gray area that sounds to me that I may not be elgible
            for the reduced cobra benefits.

            I called my hr dept yesterday left a message as to how my termination would be coded, I have had no response from them as of today and the way they are it can take 2 to 3 days if not longer for them to get back to you.

            I am very frustrated that I can not get a direct answer since I am trying to get my finances in order . If I am not elgible for the reduced cobra my premiums will be over 400.00 a month.

            I feel like this is discrimination against people like myself that have a medical condition beyond there control, and especially in my case after my surgery and physical therapy I will be able to work.

            And my last comment is why would the goverment pass a law with such vague qualifications for an involuntraily termination of employment.

            I even called my congressmen and have not response from them.

            So as you can see I've been doing a lot of research on this
            but not getting any answers.

            Thanks again for trying to help me out

            Comment


            • #7
              No one here can tell you how the company views your termination. Most all laws are written broadly. When laws are very specific, there are all kinds of things that just fall thru the cracks.

              I have heard some attorneys say that anything other than a retirement or resignation (with letter) is involuntary. That includes the typical 3 days of no call-no show which most employers say is a resignation.

              If you get the paperwork for COBRA and it says that you arent an involuntary term, then you can request an expidited review of the denial. The DOL handles this. The DOl is required to make a determination regarding your appeal with 15 business days of receiving your completed application for review. It must be submitted on a DOL application form can be found at www.dol.gov/COBRA.


              http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq-cob...ductionEE.html
              Last edited by Morgana; 05-28-2009, 06:14 AM. Reason: typo
              I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
              Thomas Jefferson

              Comment


              • #8
                thanks for all the information. I place another call to my hr department requesting if I am being termination voluntarily or involutarily.

                If my termination is not involuntarily I will request an expidited review of the denial. .


                Thanks for all your help in this very diffcult time.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Not the answer you want to hear, but we would consider your situation to be a voluntary quit for health reasons. That is, you the employee, are initiating the termination because you can no longer do the job due to your health reasons.

                  I know not what you wanted to hear. Sorry

                  Good luck with your upcoming surgery. I hope it goes well.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    http://www.wnj.com/irs_clarifies_mea...tion-4-9-2009/

                    4-9-09

                    IRS guidance clarifies that involuntary terminations for purposes of the COBRA subsidy include-

                    An employer's action to terminate an employee who is absent from work because of illness or disability.

                    The guidance also clarifies that the following are not considered to be involuntary terminations for purposes of the COBRA subsidy -

                    Absence from work because of illness or disability *(unless the employer takes action to terminate the employee)*
                    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

                    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I spoke with my HR Dept on Friday and was advised that
                      they are taking the action to terminate my employment and was advised that they are coding my termination as involuntarily not voluntarily and would be elgible for the cobra reduction.

                      You stated that*(unless the employer takes action to terminate the employee I was not elg but since my employee is chosing to terminate my employment and coding my termination as involuntarily, am I correct that I would then be elg for the cobra reduction?

                      Thank your for all your assistance on this matter .

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry I left this information in the previous post
                        In regards to the previous post I left out I did not give notice to my employer that I was not returning to work
                        after my surgery . My emplyee is the one chosing to terminate my employment not me.

                        Thanks again

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It is my understanding that you would be eligible for the subsidy & Morgana seems to think so from the seminars she attended. I agree that it is involuntary per the IRS info & your employer seems to think so also.
                          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

                          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            thank you for all your assistance in this matter.
                            You have been very helpful in helping me to determine if was I elg for the reduced cobra benefits

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You're very welcome & it certainly seems you should get the subsidy - can't see a reason not to.
                              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

                              Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                              Comment

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