This section addresses some of the common questions dislocated workers ask about health insurance. In addition, there is a brief guide to additional resources. Together, this information can help you make critical decisions about continued health care coverage and about your pension benefits.
As a dislocated worker, you may have many questions concerning your health and pension benefits rights and entitlements:
Knowing your rights can help you protect yourself and your family until you are working full time again.
Protecting Your Pension and Health Benefits
The Employment Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) enforces and administers the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the nation's major pension law. This legislation provides a number of rights and protections for private-sector pension and health benefit plan participants and their beneficiaries.
There have been a number of amendments to ERISA, expanding the protections available to pension and health benefit plan participants and beneficiaries. One important amendment, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget and Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), provides some workers with the right to continue their health benefit coverage for a limited time after they lose their jobs.
Another recent amendment to ERISA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This piece of legislation includes important new protections for millions of working Americans and their families who have preexisting medical conditions or might otherwise suffer discrimination in health coverage based on factors that relate to an individual's health.
The following questions and answers pertain to these laws and how they may affect you.