Just thought I would mention this as an idea for anyone. My co offers us time off without pay, in one week chunks. Last year I took 2 weeks off, unpaid and was able to keep my health bens for those 2 weeks . I love it. I still get my 2 weeks of paid vacation, plus these one week chunks of free time to do all the chores that pile up all year long. Last year I took 2 weeks unpaid time off.
The co offered this option in response to lots of employees requesting unpaid time off . It's interesting that so many workers just want time off, even if unpaid (but keeping health bens}.