I was hired as a Program Director of a treatment facility in January of this year. I was fired yesterday and told that the company was going in a different direction - private for profit agency - I have a master's degree and I was told they wanted a PhD licensed person. How long are they required to cover me with health insurance and what are the rules for COBRA - they paid me yesterday for the last two weeks with a regular paycheck and told me they were giving me a severance of 2 weeks pay - my salary was 90,000.
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COBRA contains provisions giving certain former employees, retirees, spouses and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates. This coverage, however, is only available in specific instances. Group health coverage for COBRA participants is usually more expensive than health coverage for active employees, since usually the employer formerly paid a part of the premium. It is ordinarily less expensive, though, than individual health coverage.
The law generally covers group health plans maintained by employers with 20 or more employees in the prior year. It applies to plans in the private sector and those sponsored by state and local governments.The law does not, however, apply to plans sponsored by the Federal government and certain church- related organizations.
As you were terminated, and not, apparently, for reasons of gross misconduct, you would be generally eligible for 18 months of COBRA coverage. The company can generally stop your employer provided benefits at the time of termination, although some allow for the end of the month (depending also on if you paid in advance). Make sure to be proactive to get the COBRA paperwork, as there have been instances where a former employee asserted he didn't receive from his employer and never received COBRA coverage opportunity - that is a fight you do not want to get into, so be proactive and make sure they send them to you (speak with HR). Click here for more details on Floridan COBRA.
While unemployment is an entirely different matter from the COBRA issue, do not delay in getting in touch with your local unemployment office (in person or via phone if permitted), because a delay can mean a loss of weeks of benefits. Under the circumstances you indicate, eligibility seems apparent, as this was not a misconduct issue but more of a lay off.
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