Senators Push For COBRA Benefit Extension
CongressDaily: "Democratic senators are aiming to pass legislation to extend subsidies to help the unemployed and underemployed afford healthcare coverage before federal funding expires at the end of this year, Sen. Robert Casey Jr., D-Pa., said today. Casey said he expects the Senate to move to the bill following the healthcare bill, which could be difficult depending on how rancorous the debate becomes" (11/24).
Modern HealthCare: "As is, the COBRA Premium Assistance Program provides a 65% subsidy on premiums for nine months to those involuntarily terminated between Sept. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009. Casey's bill, however, would increase the subsidy amount to 75%, extend the duration of the subsidy to 15 months and extend the termination deadline until June 2010."
"Casey said that in 41 states, the average cost of COBRA family coverage is 75% of what unemployment pays monthly-and even more in some cases. ... The bill would also extend the premium-assistance program to those workers who lost their healthcare coverage because of a reduction in the number of hours that they worked and also to those who were offered retiree coverage when they lost their jobs" (DoBias, 11/24).