Will I Lose My Health Insurance While I am Collecting Workers’ Compensation Benefits?November 2, 2023
You have many concerns when you have suffered a work-related injury. Not only do you have physical and financial concerns, but you may also be worried about whether you can keep your job. Your continued employment would dictate whether you can keep your health insurance policy that your employer provides. As long as the employer cannot fire you, and you pay what you owe as your share, you should be able to maintain your health insurance coverage.
Keeping Your Health Insurance Coverage Is Vital
Your Workers’ Compensation is what will pay for the reasonable medical expenses involved with treating your work-related injury. This coverage does not take care of all your medical needs. You would still need to see the doctor for other reasons, as your need for medical care does not end. You cannot afford to be uncovered in case of other health challenges.
Your ability to keep your health insurance is directly connected to whether you can keep your job. Under Maryland law, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against you for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. However, the employer is not obligated to hold your job for you indefinitely. Some employees may be able to take up to 13 weeks of leave from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
If you cannot return to work at a certain point, your employer could terminate you, even if you are still receiving benefits. Then, you would lose your health insurance coverage since it is provided through your job.
COBRA Coverage When You Lose Your Job
Your employer must offer you COBRA coverage so you can pay for your health insurance from your pocket. COBRA only lasts for 18 to 36 months, depending on the circumstances. Still, COBRA is prohibitively expensive because you cover the entire payment without your employer’s contribution. If you are receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits, you may be unable to afford COBRA coverage.
Make Sure the Premium Is Paid
Even if you keep your job, you need to be careful and ensure that you have paid your part of the health insurance premiums. Your employer pays their share, but they may not cover 100 percent. If you do not pay your part of health insurance premiums, your policy could be canceled. You may only learn that when you go to receive medical care or when you are sent a large bill that you did not expect.
Talk to your employer after you are hurt to determine how your premiums will be paid. Your share of your health insurance premiums is not necessarily taken from your Workers’ Compensation benefit check.
You Can Take Legal Action if You Have Been Illegally Terminated
Your continued health insurance coverage is a legitimate worry. If your employer cannot terminate you, they cannot take away your health insurance benefits. The fact that they must pay their share of your coverage could be a factor that they consider when they determine whether to hold your job open for you.
Still, you can take legal action if your employer has prematurely terminated or done so for an illegal reason. You should speak with an experienced attorney to learn more about your rights and what you can do when they are violated.
Contact a Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyer at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton
If you have been injured on the job, a Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyer at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton can represent you throughout the legal process. Claims are often not straightforward, or you may need to appeal a denial. To schedule a free initial consultation, call 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, Lanham, and Owings Mills, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.