Last year, the stimulus bill (ARRA) created a COBRA premium subsidy for workers who lose their jobs. Laid-off workers who qualify only have to pay 35 percent of their COBRA premiums, and the federal government pays the rest.
The subsidy has been a huge success – one study found that the percentage of laid-off workers who elected COBRA doubled after the subsidy program began.
The program expired on November 30, 2009, but Congress acted in December to extend the program. The December extension made qualified individuals eligible for up to 15 months of subsidy assistance, and made people who lose their jobs before February 28, 2010 eligible.
If Congress doesn’t act now to extend the subsidy again, people who lose their jobs after February 28, 2010 will not be eligible for the subsidy.
Without the subsidy, many families would have to go without insurance coverage. Average monthly COBRA premiums for a family in New York consume 85 percent of the average monthly unemployment check.
Call your Senator today at 1-800-828-0498 and urge them to extend the COBRA premium subsidy.