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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 118635
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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My wife received a notice today from her employer stating that

Customer Question

My wife received a notice today from her employer stating that she owes $17,000 in unpaid health insurance payments and that her employer will begin garnishing her wages. Backstory: My wife is a nurse and our family receives our health insurance coverage through her employer. However long ago she switched from full-time to part-time employment. From the time the switch took place, the health insurance payments (normally taken directly from her earnings) stopped (not sure why). We didn't notice this was happening because her pay stubs are hard to access (especially since there was a change of ownership at her hospital) and her paycheck amounts very so much anyway depending on her hours worked. We found out about this because want to switch our health care provider and need some specific letter from her employer stating she is in good standing with them. Is there any type of case here with outcome being a) My wife doesn't have to pay the $17,000 (which we don't have) or b) Her employer can't garnish her wages? Thanks in advance for any insight
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Unfortunately, if they prove she received insurance coverage she is bound to pay for it. I am sorry to say that while you and your wife may wish she received healthcare insurance for this period of time without having to pay for it or without garnishment from her wages, the law says if she received the benefit, she must pay for it and even if it was the employer's administrative error the employer is entitled to reimbursement. It is called "unjust enrichment" in legal terms, meaning it is unjust to allow someone to receive benefits they should have been paying for without paying because of an administrative error of the employer.
The employer can reasonably garnish her for the payment though I am afraid, because she did receive the insurance coverage and as such is legally liable to pay for it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ironically, we are in the process of filing chapter 7 bankruptcy; is the unpaid insurance bill something that could be claimed in that bankruptcy, i.e. no longer be responsible for paying it?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
You could seek to claim the insurance bill as part of your bankruptcy to try to get it included, yes.