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Hotel Being Sold
Sep 24, 2013

I am on Cobra and they just last week confirmed they were extending my coverage for 11 more months. Am on SSD and don't qualify for Medicare until next July. Perfect, right? Well today received an email from HR saying hotel is on the market and is likely to be sold. New owners, maybe new management company. She said I would no longer be covered. But may be eligible for open enrollment if the new company offers insurance. She didn't mention my Long Term Disability payments, from Hartford, but will I also lose that? If I lose that I will be on Social Security only and have no idea what I will do to pay for all the meds I take. Affordable Care Act doesn't start til January. I am 58 and live in Texas and desperately worried.Any suggestions? Thanks!

Response from Mr. Chambers

Just when everything seemed to be set for you, this happens. Don't worry; you are going to be OK.

First the health insurance. If your former employer closes down, lays off everyone, and terminates the group insurance, you will lose your COBRA coverage. However, under a federal law, HIPAA, as long as you took COBRA as long as possible, you will have a guaranteed right to purchase an individual health insurance policy as long as you do so within 63 days of your COBRA ending. In Texas, you will have the right to join their pooled plan: Texas Health Insurance Pool Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas (plan administrator) (888) 398-3927 or (800) 735-2986 (TDD)

Don't forget, effective January 1, 2014, you will be able to buy health insurance on the open market under the new law.

When there is a change in ownership, many times the new owners "terminate" everyone and everything and "rehire" those they want to keep. This can also effectively leave COBRA continuees out in the cold, so the HIPAA alternative would again be available for you.

Assuming your LTD plan from The Hartford is a typical LTD contract, the sale of the hotel and canceling of the benefit plans will not affect your current LTD claim. The key to a claim until LTD is that you became disabled while insured under the plan, which you were.

Your claim now has nothing to do with the continuation or cancellation of the master LTD contract. Your claim will continueThe Hartford will periodically check to make sure you remain disabled, but that is all that might have an affect your LTD benefits.

You were also concerned about medications. If you haven't already done so, check into the ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program) in Texas (search ADAP Texas). You might be eligible for assistance from them.

Good luck, Jacques

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