As an employee, you may wonder what happens to your health insurance policy while on a medical leave of absence. Well, that depends on various factors. This article explains what you should know about health insurance while on medical leave.
Your Health Insurance Continues Under FMLA Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) enables workers to obtain up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave within the same year for a serious medical condition without losing their jobs. Your qualification for FMLA depends on numerous factors, including:
- How long you have worked for the company
- The number of employees at your organization
- Whether you have had previous medical leaves within a year
If you have health insurance through your employer and utilize your FMLA leave, your business must continue your health insurance policy as if you were currently working. That signifies you will continue contributing to the insurance premiums as you previously did. You will also have to pay the employee part of the premiums to maintain coverage if they were usually deducted from your paycheck, but your medical leave is unpaid.
While on Short- or Long-Term Disability Leave
Even though it’s not mandatory, some employers offer health insurance while an employee is on short- or long-term disability leave. However, these benefits do not cover the cost of their insurance premiums. Instead, short- or long-term disability policies pay a part of your income while you cannot work.
Furthermore, you will need to review the employer’s policies or benefits handbook to confirm your health insurance status while on STD or LTD leave. Remember that an employer does not have to maintain an employee’s health coverage for an extended time. But they should consistently follow and apply its written policies.
You Should Have the Ability to Apply for COBRA
Besides certain small businesses, church organizations, and the federal government, employers must allow you to apply for COBRA or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. In addition, this is only if you lose your insurance policy due to your medical leave. In general, you have 1.5 years of extended COBRA coverage if you lose your health insurance policy because of medical leave.
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