Economic Stimulus Package to Provide COBRA Subsidies to Laid-Off Workers, Says MedicareSupplementPlans.com

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Some laid-off workers can expect help from the federal government as President Obama’s new economic stimulus package provides health care assistance via COBRA subsidies, says MedicareSupplementPlans.com.

This is important news for working seniors, because the loss of secondary insurance through an employer can be an extreme financial burden. Too often, high premiums are a hardship and too expensive even to consider. Now eligible laid-off seniors will be able to retain their COBRA coverage at a much lower rate.

Many laid-off workers will be eligible to receive healthcare coverage assistance through federal COBRA subsidies under the economic stimulus package, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), recently signed into law by President Obama.

Eligible individuals will pay 35 percent of their COBRA premium; their employers will subsidize the remaining 65 percent for a set period of time, generally not longer than nine months. The subsidy applies to COBRA payments made after February 17, 2009.

According to Alan Weinstock, an insurance broker at http://www.MedicareSupplementPlans.com, "This is important news for working seniors, because the loss of secondary insurance through an employer can be an extreme financial burden. Too often, high premiums are a hardship and too expensive even to consider. Now eligible laid-off seniors will be able to retain their COBRA coverage at a much lower rate."

Weinstock indicates that for Medicare participants who are laid off and not eligible for the COBRA subsidy, one alternative is an affordable Medicare supplement insurance plan. Information about Medicare supplement insurance plans can be obtained by visiting http://www.MedicareSupplementPlans.com.

COBRA, an abbreviation of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, allows workers to temporarily keep group health insurance benefits lost upon becoming unemployed.

To be eligible, a worker or a family member must have been involuntarily terminated from employment and eligible for COBRA between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009, with an annual income less than $125,000 for singles or $250,000 for married couples. Additionally, those who declined to sign up for COBRA when terminated may have a new opportunity to enroll. Eligible employees should receive a notice from their employer.

More information about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and COBRA continuation coverage assistance is available at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/cobra.html.

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Alan Weinstock

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