I am and have been an employee of a church in California for over 23 years. Until recently we were provided health insurance coverage. The plan recently was canceled for non-payment of premium. My understanding that the church is not required to comply with ERISA notification protocols and, as such, I have not recourse for continuation of benefits nor or they subject to any penalty under the ERISA ruling. Is this correct?
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): California
Researching employer notification requirements, ERISA regulations, IRC stipulations...
To be exempt from COBRA, a plan must be a "church plan," as defined in 29 U.S.C. 1002(33). You may want to carefully review the true facts about your employer's plan and see if it actually satisfies the requisite definition (see previous link). For example, if the plan is intended to cover employees who are involved in a trade or business unrelated to church functions.Regardless, of the existence or nonexistence of church exemption, where an employer has no health care coverage at all, its employees have no continuation coverage -- because there is nothing to continue. So, in some respects, the issue is moot, except for the purposes of obtaining a HIPAA individual conversion plan -- which is generally too expensive for anyone.What people in your position usually do is try to obtain individual coverage, and if denied, then they opt for the State MRMIP (Major Risk Medical Insurance Program) -- or the federal PCIP (Preexisting Condition Insurance Program). For info, see this link. Hope this helps. NOTICE: My goal here is to entertain while educating the public about the law. I hope my answer is useful and informative to you. During our conversation, the website may ask you to rate my answer. If you rate my answer lower than the middle rating, then the website retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing. It is entirely your choice as to how you rate my answer. However, because your payment to me is in the nature of a donation/gift, rather than as compensation for any services rendered, you are entitled to know how your rating affects the final distribution of your donation. If you need to contact me again, please put my user id at the beginning of your question ("To Socrateaser"), and the system will send me an alert. Please Click the following link for IMPORTANT LEGAL INFORMATION. Thanks and best wishes!
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