Employee Insurance Rights
Factors like reduction in working hours, employee downsizings, business and plant closings may affect an employee in negative ways. Employees may lose income and the security that is associated with a steady job. As a result the retirement and health benefits that go hand in hand for being a full-time employee may also disappear. If you are a dislocated employee, you may have several queries. Some of them may concern your retirement and health benefits. For instance, you may ask what will happen to your health benefits or could you have an option of continuing with the same health coverage till you get another job. Do you have access to your retirement funds?
Eligibility after losing job
Even after losing your job, you may be still eligible for availing specific health as well as retirement protections. In case your former organization was offering a group insurance plan, you may still enjoy the entitlement of continuing with health benefits for a certain time period. This is true even if you do not get a job immediately. You may also avail more generous or affordable options for your health benefits though other kinds of group health coverage. These can be an individual Marketplace, a spouse’s plan and specific governmental programs. When you know your rights well, you can protect yourself as well as your family members in a much better manner till you start working full-time once again.
Thus, millions of people who become ineligible for their health coverage when they change their jobs, loss jobs or divorce, can now keep their group health coverage, at least for a temporary period of time. In fact most of the people who have the ability to continue with their group insurance benefits are eligible for doing so. This is applicable according to COBRA or the federal “Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985”.
Provisions of COBRA do not apply to all the employers. Several states have given their mandates for other options of continuation-of-coverage. These are for all such people who may not be covered under COBRA. There are some states where continuous coverage that have been mandated may be even better than COBRA.
There is also option to enroll for individual health coverage for many people who are leaving group health insurance plans. Depending on the circumstances, that may vary from person to person. They can be also eligible for a specific enrollment period to making their entries in the individual insurance exchange and give application for subsidies. But, when a person is enrolled for either COBRA or state continuation, there are limited options for them to buy individual coverage. If COBRA coverage has started, enrollment in an individual coverage can be done only at the end of COBRA coverage during the individual open enrollment period.
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