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I was fired under unusual circumstances after years of dedicated service, and now I don’t have health insurance. What are my options?


Dear Nancy,

After taking a position at a small same-day surgery center, I worked diligently getting the department ready for inspections. Plus, I worked on the floor. Administration had me firing people and doing other managerial tasks for which I was not hired. After four years without a nurse manager, they found one. Within one week, she wrote me up for a he said, she said incident. She accused me of two other incidents that I had nothing to do with. I am an honest, upbeat, experienced, well-liked, and respected nurse.

Two weeks after that, I signed up for benefits during open enrollment because my husband quit his job for another, and we needed short-term coverage to start Aug. 1. One day after work in late July, the administrator pulled me aside saying she had to let me go because I “wasn’t working out.” Two weeks before that, I alerted her to a theft that was occurring. The bottom line is I feel sick about this. Plus I have no insurance unless I pay $1,500 a month for COBRA. What happened?

I was a good worker and up until that point I thought I was giving 110%. Did they use me until they found a manager; was it the insurance, or what? For the first time in my life I need TLC. What are your thoughts?

Mary Sue

Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Mary Sue,

It is difficult to speculate what the basis was of the decision to terminate your employment with this facility. It may well have been that they needed a nurse manager and you fit the bill, perhaps too well, for their standards. It would be difficult to imagine that the behavior you described started when you took over. You were “too good” and, therefore, you “didn’t work out.”

As you probably know, when one begins employment there is usually a probationary period during which the employer can terminate employment before certain protections for the employee begin. After the probationary period, as an example, the employer only could terminate employment based on its disciplinary policy (e.g., progressive discipline, written or oral warnings).

One possible concern, of course, is the health insurance termination. When employment ends, coverage ends, unless there is a severance or contract agreement between the employer and employee that must be honored. Then COBRA becomes the only option.

It might be worth your time to consult with a nurse attorney or attorney in your state who works with employees in order to determine if there is any connection with the application for health insurance and your termination and, if so, what your options are. Your attorney also can discuss with you the option, if possible, of converting the health insurance you did have as an employee to your own policy.

P ALIGN=”right”>Sincerely,

By | 2009-08-24T00:00:00-04:00 August 24th, 2009|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|0 Comments

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