A former California Vegetable Specialties, Inc. employee claims in a proposed class action that she was not provided with timely notice of her right to continued health insurance coverage following her termination.
Alleging violations of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), the 12-page lawsuit claims the defendant, as the sponsor and administrator of its employees’ group health benefit plan, is obligated to timely apprise those who have suffered a qualifying event such as a termination of their right to continued health insurance coverage. Proper notice, including all the required disclosures, must be sent to an affected health plan participant within 44 days of a qualifying event, the lawsuit explains.
Per the complaint, the plaintiff’s employment was terminated on November 22, 2019. The woman alleges the defendant failed to send a compliant COBRA notice within 44 days of her separation from the company. As the suit tells it, California Vegetable Specialties has “repeatedly violated” federal law by failing to provide health plan participants and beneficiaries with adequate COBRA notice.
“Simply put, Defendant’s failure to provide a timely COBRA notice violates the law,” the complaint reads. “Defendant failed to provide a timely COBRA notification to allow Plaintiff an opportunity to make an informed decision within the statutory time-period about Plaintiff’s healthcare options for her and her family.”
The plaintiff says she lost health insurance coverage and access to medical care as a result of the defendant’s failure to send a COBRA notice within the statutory time period following her termination. Per the complaint, the lack of notice caused the plaintiff to avoid doctor visits “for fear of the costs associated with having to pay for medical needs out-of-pocket.”
The case looks to represent all participants and beneficiaries in California Vegetable Specialties’ health insurance plan who were not sent a timely COBRA notice by the company during the applicable statute of limitations after experiencing a qualifying event and who did not elect continuation coverage.
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