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Health Insurance California Cobra Question & Answers

2016 March 20
by Sarah Fields

Paul asks…

What laws are in California regarding pregnant employees who are terminated with regard to health insurance?

Sarah Fields answers:

You have federal regulations of COBRA which is in effect for companies that have more than 20 employees on the policy and you have the state regulation of Mini-COBRA which is in effect for most companies that have fewer than 20 employees on the policy.

Either way, you must pay 102% of the actual premium to keep it in force.

Richard asks…

I need to health insurance but i got laid off work…?

I understand that i need health insurance. Cuz face it, you never know when it’s necessary. I’ve been looking for a job since I got laid off in March. Cobra turned out to be too expensive.

What are some low cost health insurances that are good? Since i’m low on cash i dont wanna throw money into a bad insurance company.

Are there any programs in California that can assist me? At least until i can find a job.

Sarah Fields answers:

None of the major companies will write a permanent policy on someone unemployed. The reason is they know you are probably searching for employment and will likely find a new job with benefits. It can take an insurance company 5 or 6 months to recoup the cost of issuing a policy.

You can, however, get a short term medical policy. These policies don’t have all the bells and whistles but will cover you for catastrophic occurrences and they are low cost. Visit an agent that works with all the major companies in your area for assistance finding the best plan for you. There is no extra charge using an agent.

Lizzie asks…

Who to notify of wrongful job termination?

My crazy boss fired a third of her staff today, including me, for lame-a$$ reasons. What can I do about? I was employed at a private school in California.

Sarah Fields answers:

Nothing. California is an “employment-at-will” state which means that either you or your employer may terminate your job at any time and with no cause.


You can file for unemployement benefits as long as you were terminated in good standing. Your previous employer pays an unemployment tax which will goes towards paying a small percentage of your normal pay while you look for another job.


You also have the right to enroll in the COBRA health insurance plan which is a federally-subsidized health insurance which covers recently unemployed workers. You retain your previous insurance, however you have to pay a higher premium. From experience, you’re better off enrolling in it.


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