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Cobra Health Insurance Subsidy for laid off workers

Friday early afternoon , March 20, 2009.

Good news!

The Department of Labor launched yesterday a new assistance program. Starting on February 17, laid off workers will only have to pay 35% of their health care premiums to enjoy the benefits of the COBRA continuation health coverage program. If you were enrolled last month, you’re entitled to a refund of the 65% subsidy.

This Boston Globe article gives some more details on the requirements:

Most people who leave their jobs can extend their health insurance through COBRA, or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. The law applies to people who were enrolled in group insurance plans at companies with at least 20 people.

The 65 percent subsidy is available to those who lose their jobs between Sept. 1, 2008, and the end of this year.

People have 60 days after being laid off to enroll in COBRA. One plus is that the subsidy gives people who missed the deadline a second chance to sign up. The new election period will end 60 days after people are notified about their eligibility for the subsidy.

Laid off workers are eligible to elect COBRA for up to 18 months, but the subsidy only lasts 9 months.

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