Health Insurance

Are fired employees eligible for COBRA?

Heads up: This article provides general information but it’s not legal advice. Please consult an HR expert or employment attorney for specific guidance on your business and situation.

Yes, fired employees are eligible for COBRA, unless they were fired for “Gross Misconduct”.

What is gross misconduct?

Unfortunately, while the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) mentions gross misconduct as a reason for denying COBRA eligibility, it does not define what is considered gross misconduct.

In many cases, the gross in gross misconduct needs to be really, well, gross, for COBRA benefits to be denied. Some examples include:

  • Destroying property;
  • Assaulting a co-worker; and
  • Rape.

As with any situation that touches on employee termination, thorough documentation is key. Only with clear and concise records can gross misconduct be determined.

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