Leaves of absence give companies challenges with health plans

Q&A with Brandon Long

published in The Oklahoman | March 31, 2015

While complex employee leave laws — such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) — are challenging to understand and implement from an employment law standpoint, employee leaves of absence present just as many benefits challenges for employers with health plans.

Employee benefits attorney Brandon Long was interviewed by The Oklahoman about the challenges employers face as they struggle to determine whether, when and how to continue providing health benefit plan coverage to an employee on a leave of absence. He said the Affordable Care Act has created some unique challenges above and beyond those that traditionally come into play with the FMLA, USERRA military leave, COBRA, workers’ comp leave, and non-FMLA leave.

“Although it isn’t required, each employer should put in place a leave of absence policy that maps out how to comply with the myriad of law that might be triggered by various types of leaves of absence,” said Long.