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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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Health benefits at job termination

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: The company my husband works for is selling the company to a different Corporation. They have already informed 800 employees that they will be without a job when the sale is complete and that there are still letters coming to over 800 more employees that they will not have a job after the new Corporation takes over. Do you have any information on affordable health coverage for individuals over 50 years old? My cousin also is looking for individual health coverage as he works for the same company and knows his job is eliminated. He has diabetes and had a stroke 10 years ago, which he recovered quite well from, with very minimal disability and his wife has a kidney disease, high blood pressure and heart condition. Do you know of any affordable health plans that they could get into?

A: Low cost health insurance does not cover pre-existing medical conditions and would be inappropriate for your situation. In your case the real question should be how to afford coverage under a plan that is legally required to maintain coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. The answer is not what you want to hear: in most states you must deplete most of your financial assets paying for health insurance and out-of-pocket expenses and then the state or a state-sponsored agency takes over financial responsibility for that expense. Ask your current group insurance company to provide details on one or both of the following options: 1) COBRA coverage, and 2) individual conversion option. This is likely the best available solution but the cost of this coverage could easily be more than your rent or mortgage so a better long-term plan is necessary. You will need to be in this expensive health insurance plan until most your assets are depleted. Visit your local county welfare office for specific information on government-paid health plans (how to qualify for) and work directly with a well-qualified financial adviser to help you protect as much money as possible from health care reimbursement claims. On the positive side, you can be assured that recent federal and state laws assure that no one who accesses the public health care system, regardless of their inability to pay, is denied access to some form of health coverage.


More resources: article: " Finding Health Insurance to Cover Pre-Existing Medical Conditions"