KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Laid-Off Workers Must Be Notified Of Health Exchange Options

The Obama administration issued a rule Friday requiring employers to inform laid-off workers that, in addition to paying the full cost of their former work-based coverage under COBRA, former employees also have the option of buying insurance through the health law's online marketplaces.

The Wall Street Journal: Employers Must Notify Laid-Off Workers Of Health-Care Options, New Rule Says
Employers must inform laid-off employees that they are eligible to buy health-care coverage through new online insurance exchanges as an alternative to paying full premiums for their old employer policies, the Obama administration said Friday. Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, or COBRA, workers who lose their jobs have long had the option of staying on their company insurance as long as they pay their share of the premium, as well as the share their employer had been paying for them. Since employers often pay the majority of workers' premiums, the cost of continuing coverage often came as a shock to people, although some elected to bear the expense anyway because they needed to continue receiving care (Radnofsky, 5/2).

The Hill: Regs To Clarify O-Care Eligibility For People Leaving Jobs
The Obama administration proposed regulations Friday to clarify that people leaving a job may choose to purchase health coverage on ObamaCare's marketplaces rather than obtain it through COBRA. COBRA, or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, allows workers the right to continue their health benefits for a certain amount of time after leaving a job or undergoing other qualifying life changes (Viebeck, 5/2).

Also in the news --

The Wall Street Journal: Head Of HHS Office Of Health Reform To Retire 
Michael Hash, a top Department Health and Human Services official overseeing the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, will be retiring, agency staff confirmed on Friday. Mr. Hash, 70 years old, joins a long list of health-care officials leaving the administration in the aftermath of the rollout of the law (Radnofsky, 5/2).

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