What to do if my husband is on workers comp and now his employer is ending his health insurance?

My husband received a letter from his employer stating his private insurance benefits were ending. He’s still considered an employee of this company correct? How can they deny him regular health care benefits? There letter stated it was because he has not worked a certain amount of hours to keep his insurance. This seems to be against the law.

Asked on September 6, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your husband and you should consult with an employment attorney, but the case may not be as favorable as you think. Worker's compensation pays money--compensation--for workplace injuries; it is an alternative to having to sue your employer. It does not necessarily keep the worker on the payroll or job; that is, while someone may not be fired in retaliation for filing a worker's compensation claim, if that person cannot work any longer, or does not show up for work, or had other performance issues unrelated to the injury, or is being downsized as a part of a general restructuring, etc., it may be that their employment can be terminated. Even if the employment is not or cannot under the circumstances be terminated, worker's comp is not  the same thing as actually working hours, so it may be that the worker will not qualify for hours-based benefits.

That said, there may be options your husband can do--go on state disability if he can't work; use FMLA leave to preserve his job; file for SSI for additional benefits, if appropriate (and again, if he can't work); etc. You should discuss your specific situation in detail with an attorney.


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