How to Get 65 Percent of COBRA Costs Covered for 9 Months

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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:

  1. Contact you human resources department for additional details
  2. Confirm coverage and premium with your health plan
  3. 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)

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