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Laid Off or Displaced? Get Help

The federal Health Insurance Portability Act (HIPAA) gives some protection for pre-existing conditions when you change from one group health plan to another, or when you change from a group plan to an individual plan. This may be important for you if you change plans after your COBRA benefits have ended.

Unions may offer health-insurance policies to members who are no longer covered under COBRA. Many people join professional associations or membership groups—sometimes for the sole purpose of obtaining group insurance. You may want to look for policies with very high deductibles that will protect your family in catastrophic situations.

Know Who to Contact for Help

To receive training and other help, affected workers have to be certified by the U.S. Department of Labor as needing that help. A company, plant, or union often applies for certification for its workers. But in addition, any group of three workers or more can apply.

Each state's Dislocated Worker Unit handles applications, certifications, and services. This unit is located in your state’s department of labor, workforce development, employment security, or career center. The unit also handles Rapid Response services for large layoffs or closures.

Get more information on services for laid-off workers at the Department of Labor Web site, or call toll-free, 877-US2- JOBS. 

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