What to do if the hospital I worked for was going through bad times and stopped paying the premiums on our employee funded health insurance plan?

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What to do if the hospital I worked for was going through bad times and stopped paying the premiums on our employee funded health insurance plan?

They have filed bankruptcy and I now have been told the outstanding bills $(1500) is my problem, even though I paid into my health insurance plan.

Asked on January 16, 2013 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your employer had obligations under the law to advise you of a termination in coverage.  Since they failed to pay the premiums without notice to the employees, you can sue your employer for the costs that would normally have been covered by the insurance policy and for reimbursement of your health insurance premiums.  You may want to get together with a few other employees and split the costs of hiring an employment law attorney to file suit for you-- the fact that they withheld premiums but did not properly apply them is basically fraud and breach of their fiduciary duty.  They owe you for the premiums and the medical expenses.  They can also be required to pay your attorney's fees and expenses.  Just because they are in bankruptcy does not mean they get to skip out on their obligation.  Your attorney can file your claim within the bankruptcy court to insure that any premiums are included in the list of financial obligations.

Other than filing a lawsuit, you have a couple of different other options.  The first is to file criminal charges for theft by deception.  They induced the employees into paying a premium in exchange for a product they knew they were not going to produce.  The beauty of a criminal charge is that is cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.   You can also file complaints with the Kentucky Department of Insurance or the Department of Employment.  The Department of Insurance actually has an ombudsman program to help with insurance claims.  Here is a link to their site: 

The Department of Employment handles matters related to payroll-- and certainly there is an issue with your company's mishandling of premiums.

This is a basic list of your options.  Unfortunately, until you get the ball rolling on any of them, the medical provider is going to demand payment from you-- and they can do so because you were the recipient of the services.  Until you can get your money back from your employer, try to set up a payment plan with the medical provider.  Hopefully, they will appreciate your effort and feel for the difficult situation that your employer dumped on you.


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