FAQs: Employee Benefits
Not necessarily. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives certain former employees, retirees, spouses, former spouses, and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of health coverage for up to 18 months. COBRA applies to companies with 20 or more employees.
You will have to pay for your own health coverage but you’ll get the same discounted or “group rate” your former employer pays.
Also, keep in mind the new the federal Health Care Reform Law enacted in March 2010. Under this law, if you don’t find a new job with employer-paid health care coverage, you’ll have to buy your own insurance or else pay a penalty to the federal government.
Up until March 2010, the general rule was that an employer could change or even eliminate a health plan so long as it followed the rules and guidelines set out by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
However, under the new federal Health Care Reform Law passed in 2010, employers with at least 50 employees will be required to provide and keep health care coverage for its employees by 2014. They’ll have to pay a penalty to the federal government if they don’t do so.
In some circumstances, depending on how long you’ve been off work and how much longer it will be before you can return to work, your employer may be able to terminate you. But you can’t be fired simply because you went on disability.