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Employer COBRA Subsidies End Today... For Good?

08/31/11

  06:05:45 pm, by MedBen5   , 230 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Employer COBRA Subsidies End Today... For Good?

Employer subsidies to former employees who qualify for COBRA coverage formally comes to an end today, Kaiser Health News reports. Congress first approved the 65% subsidy in February 2009 as part of the federal stimulus package, and extended it several times after that. The last day of eligibility for termed employee was May 31, 2011: Qualified individuals on or before that date received financial assistance for up to 15 months.

While there’s been no indication since then that additional subsidy mandates are forthcoming, the Commonwealth Fund is calling for a further extension. ModernHealthcare.com reports that a recent survey conducted by the progressive foundation found that 57% of working-age adults who lost their jobs between 2008 and 2010 became uninsured. A separate 2009 report by benefits consulting firm Hewitt stated that COBRA enrollments doubled from 19% percent of eligible individuals to nearly 40% when subsidies were introduced.

“Clearly, COBRA subsidies made a big difference for millions of unemployed people who had no other option for affordable health insurance coverage,” Michelle Doty, vice president at the Commonwealth Fund, said in a news release. “As the economy continues to struggle to recover, extending those subsidies would assure that workers, particularly those with lower incomes, could maintain their health insurance.”

MedBen will update COBRA clients on any developments regarding subsidies should they arise. In the meantime, clients with COBRA questions are welcome to call Sharon A. Mills, Director of Administrative Services, at (800) 423-3151, Ext. 438.

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