April 25, 2009

Health insurance subsidy for laid-off workers has holes

A new federal subsidy designed to help laid-off workers pay for health insurance could be out of reach for thousands of jobless workers because they worked for a small company or their former employer has gone out of business.

If an employer terminates its group health plan, former employees are ineligible for COBRA, says Michael Langan, principal with Towers Perrin, a human resources consultant. That makes them ineligible for the subsidy, too, he says.

Source: USA Today

March 16, 2009

New COBRA Subsidy is Effective Immediately

Filed under: General — 7macaw @ 6:45 am
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The economic stimulus package signed by President Obama on Feb. 17 (its official title is “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009”) creates a new, temporary employer-paid COBRA subsidy.

Under the new law, effective immediately, employers are required to fund 65% of an employee’s COBRA premiums for up to 9 months.

Source: San Fernando Valley Business Journal

February 2, 2009

Feds may make health insurance easier after layoff

Filed under: Insurance,unemployment,US — 7macaw @ 12:40 pm
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It will get vastly cheaper for most people to keep health insurance after losing a job if the government’s stimulus plan becomes law. Some nickel and dime cuts in health coverage for the poor will be reversed, too. Geek jobs in medicine will grow.

Under a dramatic, temporary expansion of COBRA, the law that lets the unemployed keep health insurance from their old job for up to 18 months if they pay for it in full, costs would drop by about two-thirds for a year.

Moreover, people who lose a job they’ve had for 10 years could stay on COBRA at their expense all the way to age 65, when Medicare takes over, if they don’t get another job with insurance first. People 55 and over could do the same without meeting the 10-year requirement.

Source: AP

January 9, 2009

Health coverage eats up unemployment benefits

According to a report (PDF) by Families USA,

Nationally, to maintain single coverage, the average unemployed worker would need to spend 30 percent of his or her unemployment insurance (UI) check on COBRA premiums.

Maintaining family coverage under COBRA is an economic impossibility for most newly unemployed workers. Nationally, unemployed workers would need to spend nearly 84 percent of their UI income, on average, to pay for premiums for family coverage.

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