The Goodman Group, LLC failed to provide certain former employees with proper notice of their right to continued healthcare coverage, a proposed class action alleges.
The 17-page case claims the senior living and healthcare community management firm ran afoul of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985—COBRA—by sending notices that lacked the date by which the election for continued coverage must be made, the name of the plan under which coverage is available and the identity of the plan administrator, among other mandatory details.
According to the complaint, the defendant disseminated improper COBRA notice forms despite having access to a model notice made available by the U.S. Department of Labor, allegedly in an effort to save money by “discouraging plan participants from enrolling in COBRA.”
“Defendant’s deficient COBRA notices both confused and misled Plaintiff,” the suit shares. “It also caused Plaintiff economic injuries in the form of lost health insurance and unpaid medical bills, as well as informational injuries.”
Per the suit, proper COBRA notice is of “enormous importance,” and stringent requirements exist given employees are presumed to be unaware they have a federally protected right to continued healthcare coverage after a “qualifying event.” A healthcare plan administrator’s choice to not use the Department of Labor’s model notice and failure to comply with COBRA rules leaves the entity subject to up to $110 in fines per plan participant or beneficiary per day, according to the case.
The lawsuit relays the plaintiff’s employment with the Goodman Group ended around November 23, 2019 for reasons other than “gross misconduct,” leaving the man eligible for continued healthcare coverage. The COBRA notice received by the plaintiff was not written in a manner calculated to be understood by the average plan participant as required by law, the complaint asserts, claiming the form’s deficiencies led the man to decline continued coverage.
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