- Question from Darcee: What if your employer fires you and you lose your insurance coverage?
- Answers - Irene Card The answer depends on which state you reside in, and how large a company you work for. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal law that applies to employers with 20 or more employees. It allows you to continue your health insurance for 18 months. If you are disabled, you can extend the 18 months to 29 months at which time you should become eligible for Medicare benefits because of disability. If you work for a small company, namely one with fewer than 20 employees, the state in which you reside may or may not have a law in force to protect you. You should call the Department of Insurance in the state in which you reside for this information. For example, New Jersey passed a law entitled New Jersey Continuation of Benefits. This law is for employers with less than 20 employees and it mimics the COBRA law for the most part. It allows you to continue your benefits. Your employer must notify you of your right to continue benefits and you have a given number of days, depending on which law we are dealing with, to respond and let the employer know you wish to continue benefits. You are responsible for 100% of the premiums and the employer has the right to charge an additional 2% for administrative costs. If a person is out of work, it is usually quite difficult to afford the monthly premiums just at a time when you need the coverage the most. There are some options available for those who cannot afford a health insurance premium. My website has a lot of information: www.micinsurance.com.
- Ruth Oratz, M.D., F.A.C.P. Another website I would refer you to is called www.cancerandcareers.org.
- Barbara Hoffman State insurance departments would also have information about your state law.
On Wednesday, September 19, 2007, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Working During Treatment. Barbara Hoffman, J.D., Irene Card, and moderator Ruth Oratz, M.D., F.A.C.P. answered your questions about the legal, financial, physical, and emotional aspects of working during breast cancer treatment.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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