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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.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

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Replacing benefits after a layoff

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posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date.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

Q: My benefits run out December 31 when my temporary job ends. I received a notice that I can elect to continue to be enrolled in the employer's benefit plans but I do not want to enroll in COBRA because it is so expensive and it does not include dental or life insurance anyway. What else is available that is more affordable?

A: Most people leaving a group plan enroll in one of the short term medical plans that offer simple but reliable coverage at about 1/3 the cost of COBRA. Despite the word "short" in the name, you can usually keep this type of medical insurance as long as needed. Listing of benefits available in each state can be found at As for the dental benefits, a better deal (in terms of benefits returned vs. dollars spent) is available by enrolling in a dental discount plan rather than dental insurance. See for some of the most reputable discount dental plans. As for the life insurance, the best deal is to enroll separately from the medical benefits. See the listings at that include both online issued plans as well as those that require a paramedical exam. In either case, the cost to replace employer-provided group life insurance is minimal, probably less than $20 per month, and you have a guarantee that this insurance will be offered year after year regardless of your employment status.


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