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Can I cancel my insurance through my employer due to financial hardship

Santa Ana, CA |

My husband recently went part time and lost his insurance . I put him on mine well within the 31 day window . He has now been knocked back to even less hours and it has come down to I wont even have money to pay rent with the insurance deductions . I asked my hr about just canceling it all together and they informed me that corporate will not comply . This means I might have to quit due to not having enough money to pay for gas to get here .

Attorney Answers 4


Contact an employment/labor attorney in your area. From an insurance standpoint, check the policy to see what provision it has regarding cancelling insurance.

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This is very unfortuante circumstance. This answer is in two parts, Financial and Legal. First, your doing the right thing by looking at all oustanding expenses. But, health insurance? That is not a good idea. What if either of you gets sick, and need ER treatment, your really in deep trouble. Start with the basics (Food, Utilities, Housing/Rent). Cable bills are not Utilities either. Remove ALL other expenses, includng credit card obligations. Remember, if you dont' have anything, how can they sue you for reimbursement. Now, assuming you have nothing left to reduce. Lets cover one more thing. Your Husbands needs to find more employment immediately. I will assume the basis for the hours reduction is not pre-textual and no employment voilations occured. Typically, your HR should allow you to fill out a form to change health contributions for Economic Hardship and this should be done immediatley. I recommend you discuss with your supervisor immediatley if your getting no where. But, before you do, it is recommended that health insurance be the Last, not first thing removed.

This email does not create an Attorney-Client relationship.

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You should discuss this with a friendly boss or HR person. Perhaps you can lower your coverage to that portion the employer pays only, as I am assuming that your employer is contributing to the coverage if they will not let you drop it altogether. Depending on the size of the company, it may be worthwhile to attempt to negotiate a raise to cover the full cost of the health insurance (or to cover increased fuel expenses) if they will not let you change it. It may also be the situation that you can only change during an annual enrollment period, but there are probably exceptions to that available. The State of California has excellent information online for consumers. For example, here is one site.
But you really do need to discuss this with your employer to get help.

Debra K. Butler is licensed to practice law in the State of California and is admitted to the federal courts located in California and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Any opinion given cannot be construed as legal advice and participation in community questions is recommended by AVVO for higher ratings and thus, may be considered advertising.

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If you have purchased coverage through your employer's Code section 125 cafeteria plan (i.e., on a pre-tax basis), your election is locked for the plan year, unless you encounter a qualifying change in status event. Unfortunately, financial hardship is not one of the factors listed. You should discuss the issue with your Human Resources Department to determine whether in fact the election was made under such a plan. Best of luck.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure Unless expressly stated otherwise, this document is not intended or written to function as a covered opinion under Department of Treasury regulations. Any federal tax advice within this document is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of: (1) avoiding penalties that may be imposed, or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Disclaimer: This information is a brief summary of a complex area of the law and is provided for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice, and it is not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties.

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