President Obama signed the defense bill on Monday that contained the provision to extend continued health insurance benefits for laid off workers.
The law the President signed extends the 65% subsidy for an additional 6 months beyond the original 9 months that was to end December 31st. This subsidy is for workers laid off between January 1 and February 28th, 2010 and also to those laid off between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009, under the original bill.
The intent of the subsidy was to assist laid off workers from paying the full amount – 102% – of the health benefits they elected from their employer while working. The average monthly bill under COBRA for a family is $1,111, according to a study by Families USA. With the subsidy, the average monthly bill drops to $389. a significant reduction.
An estimated 14 million workers are expected to be eligible for the subsidy according the Hewitt Associates, a benefits consulting firm. The bill requires the employer to notify current and future COBRA participants of the extended 15 month eligibility. For more information about COBRA and this latest bill, go to http://www.dol.gov/cobra or call 866-444-3272.
JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.
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