By Karl Voigt
We are often asked by clients if their employer can drop their Health insurance benefits while they are out on Workers’ Compensation. Unfortunately, the short answer is “Probably yes.” There is no law in Pennsylvania that requires an employer to pay for health insurance premiums while you are disabled from work due to a work-related injury.
If your employment is governed by an employment contract for a collective bargaining agreement, that agreement may compel your employer to continue paying health insurance premiums during an absence from work. Absent such an agreement, your employer is not obligated to continue to pay your premiums. However, if there is no such agreement, we must look elswhere
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you are entitled to 12 weeks of leave if your employer is large enough and you have enough hours. If you apply for leave under FMLA, your employer must preserve your health insurance benefits, as well as your job, for 12 weeks. However, if you made a contribution toward your health insurance premiums when you were employed before your injury, you must continue to make those contributions while out on Worker’s Compensation.
If your health insurance policy is about to be canceled, you must receive a COBRA notice from your employer. This will allow you to continue coverage, but you must pay for your own premiums. As you can see, there is very little protection of your health insurance coverage while you are disabled from work due to a work injury.