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No one can afford to be uninsured and, fortunately, you probably won't have to be, despite your termination. Legally, you're almost certainly entitled to continued health insurance coverage under your company's group plan. Make sure you thoroughly discuss and understand your company's health care benefits and how long you qualify for them once the severance period begins. In addition, be sure to discuss C.O.B.R.A. benefits. You may not now that The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986, which requires most employers to offer departing employees continued group health insurance benefits. If you're like most people, you'll be entitled to the same health insurance benefits you had at your company's group rate plus a two percent management fee for 18 eighteen months after your termination date. However, you'll be paying one hundred percent of the premiums, which may dramatically increase your cost for the same level of health care coverage. The costs, however, might even be lower with another group insurance policy, so it pays to shop around on your own for the time when you'll be footing the insurance premiums (unless you have a preexisting medical condition that would make it difficult for you to find another insurance carrier). Check with professional associations and recreational clubs to which you belong; they often offer members discounted coverage.

Be aware, though, that as employee-friendly as COBRA may be, it doesn't cover everyone all the time. The law doesn't apply to churches and the Federal government, although the latter's employees are covered by the Federal Employee Health Benefits Act of 1988, which is similar to COBRA. Also, if you were dismissed due to "willful misconduct," you're not entitled to COBRA's protection.

Note, too, that COBRA only applies to health coverage - that is, medical, dental, and vision insurance. Your group life and long-term disability insurance aren't covered under COBRA. You might, however, negotiate with your employer to continue these insurance policies under the same terms as your health coverage.

Also, your employer might consider striking a deal with you regarding the cost of your health insurance coverage. For example, perhaps the company will continue to pay all or part of your monthly insurance fees for an agreed-upon period - say, for eighteen months or until you're covered under a new employer's group plan, whichever comes first.

┬ęCopyright 2008 Professionals In Transition Support Group, Inc.

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