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2009 Stimulus Bill Changes Cobra Plan for Unemployed Workers

Filed under: Uncategorized — emitaliablog
Posted on June 8, 2010 @ 1:29 pm
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As you know employers are required to provide health insurance coverage for 18 months after an employee leaves his job under the Cobra plan for unemployed workers. What has changed with the Cobra law under the new 2009 stimulus plan from the Obama administration may surprise many people.

The provisions embedded in the over $800 billion dollar stimulus plan that passed, would load employers down with new provisions for Cobra administrators. This will be the biggest change ever since Congress enacted the law in 1986 to help Americans maintain health care coverage. The additional Cobra provision under H.R. 598 has two major measures that have a massive cost for today and tomorrow.

First, if an individual stops working as early as age 55, they could retain Cobra coverage until they reach Medicare eligibility. It also doesn’t matter how long they have worked for the employer either. They would still be eligible under this new twist to the economic stimulus plan pushed through by mostly Democrats.

The law currently allows for health insurance coverage for only 18 months after the employee leaves. Under current Cobra law, the employee must pay 102% of the health insurance premium or the coverage is lost.

Second, the Cobra bill provides for a federal “COBRA Premium Subsidy” for employees that were laid off from Sept. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2009. The subsidy will cover 65% of the health insurance premium payment for up to 9 months through a Cobra plan provider. The provider will receive compensation in the form of a tax credit to cover the shortfall in the insurance premium payment.

There has been little opposition to the plan given the economic slump that started in 2008 and seems to be headed deep into 2009. Most employers agree that to provide assistance with health insurance premiums on a temporary basis is an excellent idea.

Learn More About the 2009 Economic Stimulus Plan Here

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