COBRA is the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986, a federal law that allows most workers to continue getting health insurance under a former employer’s plan. Normally, the entire burden of the premium plus administrative fees must be paid by an unemployed worker, so the monthly payments can be very substantial and oftentimes cost-prohibitive in unemployment. COBRA can be particularly critical when a preexisting condition would prevent a person from getting coverage otherwise.
Family Coverage from a Spouse – Is a spouse eligible for a family plan through his or her job? If that spouse is already taking advantage of his or her company’s health care plan, a husband or wife can generally be added at times other than open enrollment.
Adult Low Income Health Care – Many states offer health care that you might be eligible for based on your income.
Children’s Health Insurance Program – Each state offers low or no cost health care for many children that are without health care and not eligible for
Medicaid – even if members of the family are working or have some income. Each state sets its own income requirements and eligibility rules.
Individual Plans – Younger, healthier workers may find that an individual plan is less expensive than the COBRA option. A broker or multiple web sites can help you compare plans.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. The ARRA included COBRA subsidies for individuals (and their eligible dependents) who lost their health care coverage due to a recent involuntary job loss.
On Dec. 19, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations Act (DAA) which extended and expanded the eligibility provisions of the COBRA subsidy program. Many USW members who have suffered recent job losses will be able to take advantage of the COBRA subsidy program.