05 November 2009

The Bright Side of Getting Laid Off

Technically, tomorrow is my last day of gainful employment. I've been using up unused sick time, accumulated vacation time, and short-term disability since the middle of June, but I was still technically an employee. After tomorrow, I won't be.

The benefits lady called to prepare me for the termination letter, so I wouldn't feel bad when I got it. She's nice that way. In talking about some of the paper that would need to be shuffled during this transition, she mentioned the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act subsidy for COBRA expenses. I told her I didn't think I was eligible. The deal is that ARRA subsidizes 60% of the cost of health insurance under COBRA if you're laid off. When the stimulus package was first passed, I checked with the MS Society to see if I would be eligible if I retired on disability. Reading the language in the act, it didn't look like I would be. The MS Society concurred.

The benefits lady said it was all rather confusing. She went off to check with a couple of people.


According to my employer, this is not a voluntary termination. I would continue to work if I could. They're laying me off because I can't. And since they're laying me off, I'm eligible for the COBRA subsidy.

Now, if I were a pissy kind of person, I might mention how it would have been nice to know this before I paid for Tuffy's insurance for fall quarter through UW, since it was less expensive than covering her on the unsubsidized COBRA. With the subsidy, COBRA would have been the better way to go. Fortunately, I'm sufficiently ecstatic about finding out that health insurance will cost 60% less than I had expected that I'm willing to let it go.

Takes a good bit of the sting out of getting laid off.

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