Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 1, 2010

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Insurance Question from Staten Island, NY

Asked on 07/01/2010

does an employer have to have medical cover for full and part time employees if he has more then 15 people employed in new york both my parents work my father is wants to retire in a few years, and when he does my mom gets dropped off the plan, my mother works for a union compay and the union contract is up in 2 months. she doesnt have medical coverage with them due to my fathers coverage but will have to pick up her union medical when he retires but the owner of the company wants to try and take away the medical when union contract is up. the company has over 12 possably 20 to 30 emplayees im not sure of the number of people working there.

Answer given on July 01, 2010

Basically, it’s the same in every state.  The rule goes as "if you do it for one, you do it for all".  However, this will typically on apply to full time employees. Certain classes of employees can be excluded, including part time employees.  It doesn’t matter if you have one employee or 10,000, if you offer one of them health benefits you have to offer it to all of them in the same class, so yes, your employer can decide not to provide health benefits. 

Sadly, many employers are heading in this direction due to the rising costs of providing health benefits through the typical model of health insurance.  There are other options, and since the new health care bill is kicking in over the next few years, there are a couple more additional options.

Not sure if your mom will be medicare eligible any time soon, but many working employees ARE eligible so they do have that option.  She might also want to shop for individual insurance.  Don’t try to buy the plan design she has now… just buy something with a high deductible… it’s really the best way to go.

Going back to your original question, I am assuming you are thinking of the COBRA guidelines.  Employers who have fewer than 20 employees are not required to offer COBRA benefits.  In addition to that, if the employer is operating a Section 105 plan ( self insuring in any number of ways ) they are typically exempt from offering COBRA, regardless of the number of employees. 

Hope everything works out for your mom. 


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