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  • Laid Off: How to Stay Insured

    The holiday season is upon us. With Thanksgiving around the corner and the winter holidays just weeks away, many American workers are receiving an unexpected (and unwanted) gift from their employers: pink slips. According to the Wall Street Journal, 1.2 million workers have been laid off this year. Lay-offs are occurring across the board and impacting a wide range of industries. Tinseltown legends Harvey and Bob Weinstein laid off 11% of their employees at Weinstein Co. on Friday, while publishing powerhouse Conde Nast has begun cutting their staffs by 5%, a move that bloggers have begun referring to as “Empty Nast syndrome.” The unstable economy is causing stress for many workers, who wonder if their jobs may be the next to go. “I put all this time and effort into my education,” says New York based graphic designer Ashley Jones. “Now I’m hoping it wasn’t all in vain.” But as major magazines fold daily, Jones says “I’m feeling uncertain about my future and I just hope I can support myself.”

    Every Thanksgiving, at tables across America, families lift their glasses and wish for good health for themselves and their loved ones. But how do you take care of your health if losing your job also means losing your health insurance? For the newly-unemployed, the animal of the season may no longer be the turkey: it may be time to embrace the COBRA. COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, a law that provides continued group healthcare coverage for uninsured former employees. COBRA allows you to keep the insurance plan you used at your former place of employment for an additional cost, though this cost is usually less than the cost of opening an individual insurance policy. On the other hand, there are affordable individual insurance policies as well as government programs for those who qualify. Explore your options and make sure you and your loved ones remain insured during this holiday season.

    • “Newly Out of a Job? Here’s how to replace the health benefits” by Anna Wilde Mathews at the Wall Street Journal: Mathews offers information and tips on using COBRA coverage, finding an individual insurance plan, and qualifying for government coverage.
    • The Healthier and WISER series: The “Healthier and Wiser” series addressed some of the main health care coverage issues women encounter at different stages of their lives. It offers a variety of resources and information on how to stay insured.
    • FAQs About COBRA: This FAQ from the U.S. Department of Labor offers extensive information on COBRA coverage.

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    About Us

    WISER is a nonprofit organization that works to help women, educators and policymakers understand the important issues surrounding women's retirement income. WISER creates a variety of consumer publications including fact sheets, booklets and a quarterly newsletter that explain in easy-to-understand language the complex issues surrounding Social Security, divorce, pay equity, pensions, savings and investments, banking, home-ownership, long-term care and disability insurance.

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