What to do if a previous employer kept insurance premiums for a year knowing I didn’t have coverage?

I paid COBRA premiums for 2 months last year to my previous employer. I had 2 healthcare appointments during this time. A year later I got statements from these 2 providers saying that I owed them money. I called the insurance company and they told me my coverage expired last year. Because of this sequence of events, former employer got caught keeping my money while I didn’t have coverage. If I didn’t have the appointments they would still have my money. I could have made smarter choices on healthcare if I knew I didn’t have coverage. Can I make them pay more for this fraud? They returned the money, plus $12.79 in interest.

Asked on October 5, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) In addition to getting your money back from the employer, they should compensate you for any other losses or injuries you suffered...so if you went out of pocket to pay for health care, when you should have covered, you may be able to sue them for the additional money.

2) If you have not suffered any loss or damages--i.e. if returning the money to you has made you "whole"--you don't really have any grounds for a lawsuit.

3) However, even if you can't or don't sue, if you believe they deliberately were keeping you money instead of remitting it to the insurer (that is, they acted wrongfully, rather than simply being negligent or sloppy and forgetting to send the premiums on), you can, and probably should, report them to the police and look to press charges--stealing money is crime.


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