Emergency Extension of Deadlines in COBRA Benefits
Losing a job is difficult for anyone. Applying for continued health insurance benefits under COBRA or State law can be complicated (just as with any employment benefits, including short term disability and long term disability benefits). The insurance companies set up countless deadlines and procedures to trap the unwary. More and more often, these companies are denying claims and appeals, arguing that the disabled employee has missed one of those deadlines. What these insurance companies are not telling people is that their deadline may have been tolled by emergency regulations in place under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and COBRA.
ERISA is a little-known statute that applies to most employee benefit claims. At the start of the COVID pandemic, the President declared a national emergency which authorized the US Departments of Labor and the Treasury to extend the deadline to file certain benefit claims, including the deadline to file an appeal. For many employees, those extensions remain in place.
If your medical insurance, short-term or long-term disability claim was denied as untimely, you should speak with a qualified ERISA disability lawyer as soon as possible! It may not be too late (no matter what your insurance company says)!