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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37366
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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Under non-paid suspension from employment does the employee

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Under non-paid suspension from employment does the employee lose health insurance benefits (since the premiums are being taken out of wages)? If yes, then can the employee request to pay the insurance premiums out of pocket until the suspension is cleared up? How can the employee be assured that health insurance will continue while suspended?

Good afternoon Katherine,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Under an unpaid suspension, it is up to the employer whether the health benefits will be continued. The law does not require the benefits to be provided to an employee who is not being paid wages. It is important to speak with the HR office, or your employer about their policy.

Some employers will allow you to continue to pay your medical premium. Other will not and in that case, you immediately become eligible for COBRA benefits, so long as your employer has at least 20 employees.

However, employers have up to 30 days after suspension to notify the COBRA administrator and the administrator has 114 days to send you notice of your qualification. You will have to pay for the COBRA benefits but they will be retroactive to the date you are suspended or terminated, as the case might be.

If you need to see a doctor, just go as usual and submit your medical card. Either your employer's health coverage will pick up the bill, or your COGRA coverage will pay it retroactively once you get signed up and have paid the premiums. COBRA coverage will be with the same health insurance company and you will continue to have the exact same benefits.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,


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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Doug for this information. This is very helpful and helps me plan my next steps.


I assume that by law the employer is required to inform COBRA and to inform me. I just want to be sure that I am not left without health insurance coverage during this time.


Good afternoon Katherine,

Under COBRA regulations, the employer is legally required to notify the health plan administrator within 30 days of the termination of your health coverage by the employer. If the employer does not do that, then your time to determine whether to accept COBRA is extended. Most employers report the loss of health coverage within a week as part of the company's process of closing the records on an employee.

The employer does not need to inform you. That must be done by the plan administrator within 14 days of hearing from the employer. The only way you could be left without health insurance is if you decline to accept COBRA when it is offered to you.

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Thanks again.

Have a great day,


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