What if your health care coverage ends because you lose your job, have your hours reduced, or get laid off? You may have rights to certain health and retirement benefit protections even if you lose your job. If your company provided a group health plan, you may be entitled to continued health benefits for a period of time if you cannot find a job immediately. You also may have more affordable or more generous options for health coverage available to you and your family through other group health plan coverage, such as through a spouse’s plan, the individual Marketplace and certain governmental programs. With a change in employment, you should understand how your retirement benefits are affected. Changing jobs often puts you at risk of not vesting in your current job’s retirement plan, or a new job may not offer a retirement plan. Consider keeping your money in your former employer's retirement plan or rolling it into a new company plan or an individual retirement account (IRA). Knowing your rights can help you protect yourself and your family until you are working full time again.

Before switching jobs, ask about the type of health plan offered by the potential employer and compare it to your current plan. Ask about the premium you'll pay under the new plan, what it covers, whether you can continue with the same doctors, or whether you will have to see new ones. Check to see if your potential employer’s plan has a waiting period before you can enroll in coverage – generally, it may last up to 90 days from the date you become eligible for the plan. COBRA may give you the opportunity to purchase temporary extended health care benefits offered by your former employer while you are looking for a new job or during a waiting period for health benefits imposed by your new employer.

Additional resources to help workers and employers respond to COVID-19 can be found at www.dol.gov/coronavirus.

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