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Getting Laid Off: Ten Things You Should Do Before This Happens

The last four years have really taken a toll on the American economy as a result; the Great Recession has catapulted unemployment to an all-time high.  Now more than ever, the likelihood of being laid off is more realistic than ever before.  There are several adjustments that will have to be made.  Even though we can’t predict the future or prevent a lay-off, we can be proactive and develop a strategy to ensure a smooth exit if and when the time comes.

Below is a list of the ten things you should do before getting laid off:

1.  Use your Insurance

The cost of healthcare has skyrocketed in the last five years.  Being caught without health insurance can cause a potential financial set-back.  However you can minimize the damage by using your health insurance while it’s still available.  It’s smart to get a thorough health check-up (dental, medical and vision).

2.  Search for Alternative Insurance

After your employment ends, so will your insurance, however your employer will offer you the opportunity to purchase COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) insurance.  This insurance is a continuation of your group insurance, where you will continue to pay your normal monthly premiums, but in addition to your normal premiums you will be required to pay your employer’s part of the insurance premiums as well.  COBRA can get very expensive and will be available to you for only 18 months following your layoff.  If you are healthy and don’t have any pre-existing conditions, it would be wise to search for a cheaper health insurance such as a High Deductible Health Care Plan (HDHP) which covers only catastrophic illnesses and is tied to an Health Savings Account (HSA), which is tax deductible.

3. Make a list of key contacts

It’s important to ensure that you have the names and phone numbers of key people at your current job before you leave such as your supervisor, HR and Benefits just in case you encounter a problem after you’ve been laid off.  If you will be receiving a severance package it is imperative that you review your benefits and make sure that other pertinent information is spelled out in writing prior to your leaving.  If after leaving you still have questions or run into any unforeseen problems, having these key contacts at your fingertips will come in handy.

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