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COBRA Health Insurance Gross Misconduct

Posted on: October 26th, 2011 by Cobra Insurance Guide

Question Gross MisconductMany people know that COBRA health insurance is an option if you are laid off from your job or quit your job, but what if you were fired?  Well in most cases that probably depends on what you were fired for.  Under the federal COBRA insurance laws, employees are entitled to COBRA insurance under the qualifying event if they lost their job for any reason that isn’t gross misconduct.  So what is gross misconduct.  According to the courts, gross misconduct is :  Acts of gross misconduct are intentional, wanton, willful, deliberate, reckless, or in deliberate indifference to an employer’s interest.  They do not have to be criminal acts and can actually happen in the workplace or away from the workplace.  Some examples from court cases that have involved gross misconduct and COBRA insurance are:

  • Hitting another employee on the job
  • Misappropriating funds
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Repeatedly not performing the job as instructed
  • Theft of any kind

With that said, according to the Department of Labor’s website, “Generally, it can be assumed that being fired for most ordinary reasons, such as excessive absences or generally poor performance, does not amount to “gross misconduct.” ”

If you are fired and your employer is not entitling you to COBRA insurance due to gross misconduct, you should receive a Notice of Unavailability of COBRA Coverage that explains why you are not eligible.  You will be able to appeal that notice if you do not agree with the terms that it lays out.


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