There is no requirement for the employer to subsidize or contribute any portion of the continuation premiums. Also, there is NO GRACE PERIOD FOR PREMIUM PAYMENTS, therefore, premiums must be paid on or before each due date.
That said, you may still have two options here:
1. Check the details of when you paid your last health insurance premium as presumably you would be covered for at least 30 days from that date. So, if there was a deduction for health insurance on your 1/22 paycheck, then you could argue that the 2/16 procedure was covered.
2. Or argue negligent misrepresentation. To state a claim for negligent misrepresentation under North Carolina law, plaintiffs must allege that (a) they justifiably relied (b) to their detriment (c) on information prepared without reasonable care (d) by one who owed the relying party a duty of care. Brinkman v. Barrett Kays & Assocs., 155 N.C. App. 738, 742 (2003)
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