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March 14, 2009

Easing COBRA's squeeze

The federal stimulus package delivers newly unemployed workers some much-needed relief by subsidizing health insurance purchased through COBRA - the law that allows workers to keep their employer-provided health insurance for up to 18 months after they leave their jobs. But for some folks, COBRA plans may prove too expensive - even with the government subsidy.

Fortunately, unemployed workers have other options for maintaining coverage. The stimulus package also allows people to switch to a less expensive employer-sponsored plan, if available, when they become COBRA-eligible. And folks who opt for a cheaper employer-sponsored policy through COBRA are still eligible for the new government subsidy.

This provision will help many find a policy that fits within their budget. Laid-off workers should be sure to take advantage.

Janet Trautwein
Executive vice president and CEO
National Association of Health Underwriters
Arlington, Va.



Millions of Americans who lost their jobs prior to September 1, 2008 could not afford Cobra. Millions more elected Cobra but have now depleted their resources and can not continue on. Still millions more with pre-existing conditions who rely on cobra to bridge the 18 month gap between their former employers insurance and their state's high risk insurance pools are struggling to pay their premiums every month to prevent being locked out of insurance permanently.

Please join us in asking Congress and the Obama administration to eliminate the arbitrary September 1, 2008 cut-off date and 9 month limitation of assistance by signing our petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/cobrareform and telling your friends about our efforts.

For more information please see our website at http://cobrareform.weebly.com.

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