My injured employee has been away from work for 6 months. Can I terminate his health insurance?

Asked 10 months ago - Irvine, CA

I operate a small company (6 employees). One of my workers injured himself on the job back in September. It didn't seem major, but he went to see a doctor and a lawyer, and filed a workers comp claim. Saying he's injured, he hasn't worked for me since September.

I've continued to pay for his health insurance ever since. The insurance plan documents say that the company only has to pay for his insurance for 3 months while he's on medical leave.

Can I terminate his health insurance now that the 3 months is up? I'd like to do it, but I don't want it to look like I'm retaliating against him for filing a WC claim, because I'm not.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Jonathan Aaron Weinman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

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    Answered . You should consult with an employment attorney about your options, either via telephone or in person. Because you are not governed by FMLA based on the size of your business, there are options available to you with respect to your injured employee. However, the number of employees you have meets the minimum requirements for the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) which requires that you engage in a good faith interactive process with the employee in order to determine what, if any, reasonable accommodations can be made to allow the employee to return to work. Your post does not specify all of the details surrounding the injury, possible restrictions, accommodations sought, etc.

  2. Neil Pedersen

    Contributor Level 20

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    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . It is not unlawful for an employer to cease employee benefit insurance if the terms of the plan dictate that the employer can do so.

    It would be prudent for you to consult with experienced employment law counsel to deal with this situation. If you do not have one, every California employer should have an employment attorney on speed dial given the complexities of the state and federal laws with which you must contend.

    Good luck to you.

    This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed... more
  3. A Melissa Johnson

    Contributor Level 16

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I added worker's compensation to the relevant area of law so more attorneys would see your post.

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Every kind of small business has its own insurance requirements. Some are mandated by law and some are not (but may still be a good idea).

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