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COBRA Health Insurance Subsidies Waiting For Senate Action

By Andrew Villages – Under the federal COBRA law, employees can stay on their former employers’ health insurance quotes or plans for 18 months after losing a job, but they must pay the full amount of their premium. People freshly laid off are waiting once again to hear if they will be eligible to get subsidies to stay on their employer’s health insurance. The subsidies are division of an extension of jobless benefits that the Senate is considering.

Four Republicans voted with 56 Democrats Monday to take up the bill later this week.  However, as part of efforts to avert some of the effects of the downturn, and as part of the stimulus package, Congress voted to subsidize 65 percent of those costs for laid-off workers.

Here’s a brief time line of the provisions:
February 2009: Workers laid off from September 2008 December 31, 2009 are eligible for nine months of the subsidies.
December 2009: Eligibility is expanded to those laid off through February 2010 and the subsidy is extended to 15 months.
March 2, 2010: Eligibility phase for newly laid-off employees is extended through the end of the month.

The bill lawmakers are considering now is a short-term extension and is meant to buy Congress more time, again, to pass longer-term benefit extensions.The longer-term options being considered comprise a Senate bill that would extend the subsidy through the end of the year. A House bill also offers a longer extension but the two bills would have to be submissive.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 at 4:14 am and is filed under Health Insurance Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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