The company I worked for was recently acquired by another company. As part of the deal, we were offered contract to hire positions with no benefits. When the contract was presented, I inquired about benefits and HR claimed they "will pick up the COBRA costs for your benefits" in an email.

After accepting the contract and accepting COBRA coverage (about a month passed here), I asked again about COBRA and how they would pay. This time, the same HR person tells me that what they said earlier was not the case. They claim that the "guidance they received" was that it would be covered, but after talking to the HR lead now, it's not the case.

Health coverage was my primary concern when consdering signing the contract, and I'm really bummed that I might have to strike out on my own. Do I have any recourse, and if so, how can I navigate the situation without souring my relationship with the new company?

Everything has been over email, but the contract I signed doesn't have any mention of benefits or COBRA.

  • Was there any language about COBRA in the contract you signed, or was it an informal agreement? – TheSoundDefense Oct 18 '17 at 17:03
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    What is COBRA? Anyway, it is not clear how we can help you here, you should consult a lawyer. – Masked Man Oct 18 '17 at 17:04
  • @MaskedMan Extended self pay insurance typically used when between jobs or unemployed. Typically its very expensive. Your basically paying the full cost of your insurance ( and sometimes other ) benefits. – Mister Positive Oct 18 '17 at 17:31
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    COBRA is the gap health insurance you can get when switching employers to maintain your existing insurance. It's much more expensive than employer-based insurance because it isn't subsidized by the employer. My advice, and keep in mind, I'm not a lawyer, is to find work elsewhere. If you want to sue in small claims court, you only have two years to file the suit. Hopefully, your claim doesn't exceed the small claims court limit in your State. And again, I'm not a lawyer, but with the emails, I really don't see how you would lose. – Stephan Branczyk Oct 18 '17 at 17:34
  • For future reference, you want the contract to be updated to reflect whatever you agree to. If it's not in the contract, that just makes everything harder and less enforceable. – Dukeling Oct 18 '17 at 17:46

When the contract was presented, I inquired about benefits and HR claimed they "will pick up the COBRA costs for your benefits" in an email.

This. Refer your HR folks to this email as a basis of your decision and emphasize that you need them to pay the cost. COBRA is the full cost of your insurance benefits which is a sizeable amount most of the time.

If they refuse, I would take the emails to an attorney in your state and see what your options are. That is a major, major gaff on HR's part, and I don't see any other recourse for you that won't potentially sour the relationship unless you want to eat the cost.

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