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Can a company make you convert to cobra while on disability d/t surgery

Harpers Ferry, WV |

My father had surgery three weeks ago. He is scheduled to go back to work in three weeks. His company called him in for a meeting today and stated since he is not full time d/t being on long term disability after surgery, he must go on cobra until he returns to work. Can they do this? He has no problem paying his normal portion of his insurance while on disability but does not understand why he would need to go on disability. The parent company is in NY although he lives in WV.

He was full time salaried employee prior to having the surgery, which was an emergent surgery on his cervical spine.

Attorney Answers 1


Go to the Department of Labor webiste and you will find answeres to questions that may arise here. I am bothered by this action. Did your father have the right to request FMLA? The DOL says "The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave." The reduction of hours may be a qulaifying event for COBRA, but many companies keep employees on during surgery as long as his job has not changed. You need to consult a lawyer or at least contact the DOL about this. MOre facts need to be developed. Good luck on working through this.

More facts need to be known so do not rely on comments here until consuting with an attorney that practices regularly in this area of law.

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Thank you Mr Martin. He has contacted an attorney. Unfortunately bc he is unable to pay the cobra an he and my mother both have other health concerns, he is going back to work Monday, three weeks before his MD wants him to.

David Paul Martin

David Paul Martin


I am sorry for his troubles here. COBRA is very expensive - 102% of the actual cost. Best wishes to him.