Obama’s economic stimulus bill includes a little relief for people who lose their jobs and still want to purchase healthcare coverage under COBRA. Under the traditional COBRA terms, laid-off individuals must pay 100 percent of the premium, plus a 2 percent administrative fee. However, Obama’s plan provides a 65 percent federal subsidy for COBRA premiums for up to 9 months. The steps in this article will help you understand and get access to this subsidy.
Step 1 – You must have lost your job between Sept 1, 2008 – Dec. 31, 2009.
Step 2 – The subsidy isn’t available if your income in the year you need COBRA coverage totals $125,000 for yourself or $250,000 for your family.
Step 3 – Contact your human resources department to confirm your eligibility and also to understand the cost of the total premium. You will be responsible for 35% of the total premium for 9 months.
Step 4 – Contact the health plan to confirm your eligibility and premium payment. Ask them to send you a letter of confirmation that includes the premium and coverage start and end dates. Be sure this information is consistent with the information you received from your human resources department.
Here’s a few warnings you should be aware of:
- Contact you human resources department for additional details
- Confirm coverage and premium with your health plan
- Get everything in writing… including start and termination dates, premium costs, and statement of coverage.
For additional information you can visit the official site: COBRA Continuation Coverage Assistance Under The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/cobra.html)