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    Update on US COBRA health insurance subsidies

    Bob Balaban  December 25 2009 11:03:13 PM
    Greetings, Geeks!

    Last April I published some info in this bloc about how people (US residents) who had been laid off and who had adopted the COBRA insurance continuation plan could receive a US Government subsidy of their monthly premiums.

    At the time, the subsidies were only for a maximum of 9 months, most peoples' (including mine) expired at the end of November, meaning that the December premium went back up to full rate.

    However! The US Congress recently passed an extension to the subsity program. This was not related to the "health care reform bill" passed by the US Senate yesterday, it's a different bill. What I heard on the news is that the extension is valid for an additional  6 months, although I'm not completely sure about that.

    I phoned the administrator of my COBRA plan, and the nice lady I talked to there said she knew about the extension, and that they were working on implementing the change to their billing systems. In my case (YMMV) this means that I have to pay the full amount for a couple of months, then when they get caught up with the new law, they'll credit the amount of the subsidy for the months I've already paid to future payments.

    This is great news, the subsidy is worth a lot of money (to me, anyway). Of course, remember that COBRA plans in general are only valid for 18 months, after which you have to go get another provider, or signup for another plan (either through a new employer, if you have one, or individually).

    As always, don't take anything I say about this (or anything!) as gospel. Check it out for yourselves.

    Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year. And remember: "War is over, if you want it." (John Lennon).

    Geek ya later!
    Comments

    1Roy Rumaner  12/25/2009 10:46:47 AM  Update on US COBRA health insurance subsidies

    I experienced the same thing Bob. I called them in late November when I got my new coupons and saw that my rate had gone back to it's original cost of $416. They said they knew a rate reduction would be going into effect soon but until then I had to pay the full price. And like you stated, the other problem is that after 18 months, we have to find a carrier and that is going to cost a lot more than we are paying now. Not sure how that is going to work. All this reminds me, I better get my December payment in the mail tomorrow.