Health care and retirement benefits: FAQs for laid-off workers

Plant and business closings, downsizings, and reductions in hours often mean the loss of health and retirement benefits for workers. As a dislocated worker, you may have questions concerning your health and retirement benefits. Find answers in this section of the U.S. Department of Labor website.

Continuation of health benefits under COBRA

COBRA gives certain former employees and family members the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates when coverage is lost due to certain specific events.  Since COBRA participants generally pay the entire premium themselves, it’s usually more expensive than health coverage for active employees (employers generally pay part of the premium for active employees) but less expensive than individual health coverage.

Continuation of health benefits under MiniCOBRA

The Massachusetts small group continuation of coverage law (Mini-COBRA) enables employees of small businesses (2-19 employees) to continue coverage and pay group rates under circumstances where they previously would have lost coverage. While COBRA and Mini-COBRA are similar, they are not identical. Find information on qualifying events, qualified beneficiaries, notice requirements, election period and more.

Help with health care payments

The Medical Security Program (MSP) provides health insurance assistance for Massachusetts residents who are receiving unemployment insurance benefits, and their families. Learn about this program that offers help paying the cost of existing health insurance premiums, or the cost of actual medical expenses.