The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to continue coverage for certain employees as if they are still actively at work. But disability leaves outside the FMLA’s purview are a completely different story. There are no laws requiring employers to provide group health benefits in these other situations. So how do employers address this?

We were wondering the same thing, so we recently asked a group of employers how long they provide benefits for employees that are disabled? The variety of answers was significant. Almost half responded that they were providing group health benefits for six months or less. The remaining organizations had a variety of responses, but only 2% provided benefits throughout the disability.

As a plan sponsor, how long has it been since you gave this serious consideration? Did you inherit a policy that was set long before the Affordable Care Act created public exchanges? Or, do you feel like you’re letting employees down when they need medical coverage the most? How obligated do you feel to support disabled employees?

Considering an employee is potentially dealing with one of the most stressful times in their life — loss of income and a severe health diagnosis — your policy needs to be clearly outlined. And that includes any additional resources or support, such as a COBRA subsidy or EAP services.