Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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If the employer did not provide you COBRA notice and the opportunity for coverage as required by law, the first step is you need to file a complaint with the US Department of Labor, as they oversee the COBRA program and enforcement. If the US Department of Labor cannot resolve this, which they seem to be able to do in most cases, then your next step is you have a basis to sue the employer for the violation of COBRA and you can seek coverage as well as reimbursement of any costs that should have been covered and attorney's fees as well as potentially up to triple damages if the employer is found to have done this willfully and maliciously.
So your next step is a complaint to the US Department of Labor (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/contactEBSA/consumerassistance.html). If they cannot resolve this, then you need to engage a local employee benefits attorney to sue the employer.
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You need to contact the US DOL regarding the situation, since you were told you still had coverage at the time you sought benefits. You need to let the DOL get involved and they could end up making you pay the COBRA premium for that period, but it would be cheaper than paying the medical bills. If DOL cannot resolve it, then you would need to sue since the coverage was valid and they tried to cancel it retroactive.
You said the insurance was active, then after the fact, once they told you the insurance was still in effect, they went back and are trying to cancel it retroactively without notice to you. If the DOL cannot resolve the issue, then you would have to sue the insurer and employer for breach of contract telling you the insurance was active and then retroactively saying it was not active and refusing to pay the bills.
Thank you for your reply.The only legal chance you have here at making them pay is in proving the insurance company misrepresented coverage to you and argue they did so to deceive you and delay you from paying for the COBRA benefit until it was too late. That is what I was trying to tell you above.
You need to push this matter as I tried to point out above. Many times the DOL can get the insurance company to agree to reinstate benefits with payment of back premiums to thus allow them to pay your medical bills from the time you were supposed to be covered.