I live and work in Texas. I have been employeed with the same company for 5 years. The company has been very successful and constantly growing for the last year and a half. I found out that I was pregnant the first of May. Around this time, the owner of the company made some questonable decisions which resulted in the company having a dramatic turn financially. Over the next 2 months, we dropeed from about 100 employees to 7 employees. In the middle of July, after the first check of the month, we were in order for them to be able to continue to offer health insurance benefits, the employees would have to be responsible for half of the premium starting the next check(which would be at the end of the month). We were given the option to shop around for a personal insurance policy as an alternative. Of course being pregnant, I opted to pay for my part of my insurance. Shortly after this time, I had a feeling health insurance might be cancelled and even had concerns as to whether the company would have money to be able to pay my next check. I had accumulated a weeks vacation in which I was planning on using for my maternity leave. I had concerns due to the current status that I would never see this vacation pay. Others within the company who also had sick and vacation leave avaiable, we having days missed deducted from their checks regardless of what they should have had available to them. They were explained the company simply could not afford to honor these benefits. I began searching for other options of employment. I was able to find another employer who was willing to hire me, offer me better pay, medical benefits and maternity leave of 2 weeks. The negative to this was that they were requiring me to start in two days of the interview. It was a situation where they had other interviewers who could start immediately and if I could not start immediately then they would go with the other options. I was simpy afraid of the reprecussions if I did not jump on this opportunity, being that I was pregnant.
I met with my employer and explained the other employment opportunity and explained my concerns with the company financially and gave them a chance to explain if my concerns with pay and benefits were nothing to be concerned about, they were unable to counter offer or explain against my beliefs. Therfore, I provided my resignation and went to work for my new employer at the end of July.
I immediately completed COBRA documentation and made sure the application was submitted in order to prevent delays in my coverage. I had a songoram coming up in August. I was told by HR mid-agust that the application was processed and would be affective 09/01/09. I was informed of the premium amount that I was resonsible for and when it would need to be to them. I was shocked that I was not covered for 08/09, so questioned HR and was told that they were required by law to cover me for 30 days from last date of employment. Therefore they were responsible for the premium in the month of August.
A week later I was informed the company policy by my insurance provider. I contacted my previous employer to confirm the insruance status. I was informed that it in fact was being cancelled back to 07/01/09 and because the enitre policy was being cancelled COBRA was now obsolete.
I am now stuck with medical bills during the month of August, of which I thought I had coverage. Is there not someting that prevents an employer from cancelling insurance benefits without proper timely notificaiton to employess? What about their obligation to cover me for the 30 days after final day of employment? If no policy is available, am I left responsible for the claims or should they not be responsible for claims made with in the time we believed we were insured? Any help would be appreciated.