Last day of work, last day of health plan

My last day in the office is 8/10, but my paid time off (PTO) brings me to 9/5. So, my official last day with the company will be 9/5. HR told me that they cannot give me with health insurance for the month of September because I will be on PTO and am no longer contributing my services. I don’t buy it at all. What can I do about this?  Please advise!

Off To Greener Pastures

Dear Greener Pastures,

It’s not your former company’s HR staffer who can make or break this for you.  The health insurance plan probably has a clause that says the coverage ends at the end of the month of an employee’s last day “actively at work”. That is why the PTO doesn’t let you extend your coverage to the end of September — you won’t be actively at work at any time in September.

You could go back for a day in September, if you have left on good terms with your former co-workers and boss.  If not, you have 60 days to take COBRA coverage.  You can wait it out and see if you need the health insurance during the 60 days.  If you do need it, you would pay for it back to the 1st day of September.  If you don’t, no harm, no foul: as long as you have less than a 63-day gap in health insurance, your new plan will cover all of your health issues, even those that you have had treatment for in the previous 6 months (“pre-existing conditions”).

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.