COBRA Health Coverage

  • Federal subsidy for COBRA health coverage to expire, By Phil Galewitz, August 30, 2011, Miami Herald: “One of the key consumer benefits of the federal stimulus package – subsidies to help laid-off workers continue their health care coverage – draws to a close Wednesday, raising concerns about how the unemployed will cover those expenses. It’s a dilemma that Holly Jespersen knows firsthand. She lost her job twice in the past two years – both times losing her employer-paid health insurance. But the second time, she paid about $350 a month more for insurance than she had the first time because she didn’t qualify for the subsidy. ‘It made a huge difference for me,’ said Jespersen, 36, of Darien, Conn. ‘I wish I still had it.’ Jespersen was one of millions of laid-off workers to benefit from the federal subsidies for COBRA, a program set up under federal law that allows people who lose their jobs to keep the employer-provided insurance, typically for 18 months, if they pay the entire premium plus a small percentage for an administrative fee…”
  • No more coverage for the unemployed, By Tim Darragh, August 31, 2011, Allentown Morning Call: “Hospital emergency departments may see a continued increase in the number of uninsured people they treat, now that a federal stimulus-funded benefit that helped underwrite health care coverage for the unemployed ended Wednesday. Deficit-conscious members of Congress last year decided to let the subsidy expire, leaving unemployed people who had been getting COBRA coverage the option of paying for it in full, finding a short-term policy or going without health insurance. Enrollment in the program ended in May 2010, and subsidies expired Wednesday for most eligible individuals. There is little doubt that many, if not most, of those people will go uninsured, said Antoinette Kraus, project manager of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, a coalition of organizations working to expand health coverage for working people and the poor…”

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