Can I lose my company paid health insurance while on medical leave?

I was hospitalized for 4 days and am currently under Dr care and my return date is not known at this time. My employer sent me a certified letter stating that I left my employment on my last day of work, which I never quit and my wife was in contact with them the whole time I was in hospital, and canceled my health insurance that the company pays for. What are my options?

Thank you,
Larry

1 answer  |  asked Nov 2, 2010 09:47 AM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

Answers (1)

John Otto
The short answer is "No, they can't do that." If the company has more than 50 employees and you worked more than 1,250 hours in the last 12 months, then you're covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act which prohibits the company from terminating you for a medical emergency. You do have to make sure you fill out all the paperwork and have the doctor certify that you need FMLA time. If you don't meet the qualifications to be out under FMLA, there are Illinois and federal laws requiring the company to notify you of the right to keep your insurance in effect for up to 18 months after your termination. It may involve you having to pay the premium, but they can't just cut off your insurance without giving you the opportunity to keep it in effect. I would start by getting hold of the insurance company and explaining the situation because they will be aware of your ERISA and Illinois rights, even if the employer is not. If they don't help you, see a lawyer in your area pronto.

posted by John Otto  |  Nov 2, 2010 10:43 AM [EST]

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