More Details Emerge On COBRA Assistance Help
In February we reported that the final draft of the stimulus bill had provisions for federal help with the COBRA premiums to workers who have lost their jobs. A few days ago the U.S. Department of Labor released more details.
Employers have until April 18 to inform potentially eligible former workers that they might qualify for COBRA assistance. Even individuals who initially turned down the option may be eligible.
The Dept of Labor has answered some of those questions. They also offered employers several versions of letters which can be sent to former employees to inform them about the potential new options under the stimulus provisions.
Under the provisions, eligible employees have 60 days after the notice is provided to elect COBRA. Once a person becomes eligible for Medicare or other group coverage that person will no longer qualify for the subsidy.
Eligible employees in general are individuals who involuntarily lost their jobs between Sept. 1, 2008 and the end of this year. The individual may not earn more than $125,000 as an individual or $250,000 per couple.
Under the provision, if the assistance eligible individual pays 35% of the insurance premium, the group health plan will be required to treat the individual as having paid the premium in full. This assistance can be used up to 12 months.
More information on federal COBRA requirements is available from the U.S. Department of Labor at (866) 444-3272 or www.dol.gov/cobra.
More Developments on COBRA Health Insurance