Q: I was recently fired (6/24/14) and have yet to receive any communication from them whatsoever about health benefits. I still appear to have insurance but not sure how long that will last. So I’m not sure what to do about COBRA. Do I have to file within a certain amount of time from when I’m fired, or when my benefits expire? I was accused of copying files to give to competitors, though that never happened. I didn’t copy any files so they wouldn’t be able to make much of a case for the accusations, but I’m not sure if this would fall under “gross misconduct”. If so, how I would fight that in order to be eligible for COBRA?
A: Firstly, remember COBRA continuation is only required if your previous employer employed more than 20 employees and you were not fired for gross misconduct.
Your previous employer has up to 45 days from the date of the loss of coverage (which is usually the day you are terminated) to mail you a COBRA Election packet, and you have 60 days from the date of the loss of coverage to elect it (which must include your first full premium).
If you were terminated for “gross misconduct” that is one reason why you employer would not have to offer COBRA. I would further discuss it with your previous employer’s HR Department or COBRA Administrator. You can also find out then when to expect your packet, if it applies. If your previous employer can not answer your questions or does not comply, you can call the Department of Labor at 1-866-487-2365.
COBRA continuation is very expensive. There are alternatives to COBRA continuation available. Click href=”https://cobrainsurance.com/ here for a quote, or call us at 1-877-279-7959 (8am-5pm CST) and we can help you find an alternative plan.