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Immigration Law

Experts: H-1B and COBRA

Shilpa Phadnis, TNN, May 20, 2020

"Cyrus D Mehta, managing attorney at the New York-based law firm Cyrus D Mehta & Partners, said if the employer offers health insurance, then under COBRA, the employer must offer the option of continuing coverage to individuals who lose their benefits due to termination of employment.  "Employer plans are generally of a higher quality, and employers are able to purchase these higher quality plans at a discounted group rate from the insurance company. In most cases, the employer pays most of the premium and the employee pays a smaller percentage. When the employee is terminated, the employee pays the whole cost of the insurance and the employer generally does not pay,” he said. Mehta said the advantage of continuing with the employer plan is that the H-1B worker and family can get the same coverage without any interruption, and this is important for some who have ongoing medical needs. ... Stephen Yale-Loehr, professor of immigration law practice at Cornell Law School, said many laid-off H-1B workers don’t know about COBRA benefits, or may be afraid to ask. “They should consult an experienced insurance agent to understand their rights. And many employers may not realise they need to provide COBRA continuation coverage to a terminated H-1B worker,” he said."