Many employers get confused about their obligation to continue health care coverage when someone is out on extended work comp leave. Here are some general guidelines to consider:
- Workers comp law doesn’t require an employer to keep paying an employee’s health care when they’re on extended leave due to a work comp injury. An employer June not discriminate against someone on work comp leave. For example, if your practice is to continue health care coverage for two or three months hoping that someone can return to work, you need to maintain this practice with an employee on work comp leave or face a discrimination or retaliation claim.
- Be aware of a Health insurance provision that employees must be “actively employed.” For example, if they haven’t worked for two months, they June not be actively employed. Even though you might have extended their coverage, if they have a significant claim, the carrier June decide to decline coverage, leaving them unprotected because you didn’t issue them a COBRA notice. Not a good spot to be in.
- Remember, if you have more than 50 employees, the FMLA requires you to maintain extended coverage for at least 12 weeks — but only if there’s a reason to believe the employee will be returning to work.