Health Coverage for Unemployed Workers

Are you out of work and need health coverage? COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) provides eligible individuals with the ability to continue group health insurance benefits during periods of unemployment.

Background

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides a 65 percent federal subsidy for the costs of paying medical premiums. The ARRA provided a COBRA premium reduction for eligible individuals who were involuntarily terminated from employment through May 31, 2010. Individuals who qualified on or before May 31, 2010 may continue to pay reduced premiums for up to 15 months, as long as they are not eligible for another group health plan or Medicare.

Learn more about the COBRA subsidy.

COBRA Health Insurance Subsidy Expirations

Many individuals fear that they will lose health coverage when their 15 month COBRA premium subsidy ends before their regular COBRA coverage ends. For people whose COBRA Health Insurance Subsidy is nearing expiration, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration developed a fact sheet provides tips to help them maintain health coverage.  In particular, it is important that individuals understand that they will need to make the full COBRA premium payment in order to maintain their COBRA coverage after the subsidy ends.  The fact sheet also notes some other coverage options to consider. The fact sheet is available at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/fsExpiringSubsidy.html  

If you have further questions, contact EBSA toll free at 1-866-444-3272.

EBSA also has a dedicated Web site that explains the COBRA premium reduction subsidy: www.dol.gov/ebsa/cobra.html

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