Affordable Health Insurance Under Stimulus Package

With layoffs abounding, Obama’s stimulus package might make it easier for others to get healthcare.

Those who have lost their jobs might receive a 2/3 reduction in their healthcare insurance costs for 18 months.

Also, those who have been working for a company for 10 years can continue to receive healthcare coverage until they are 65.

The only ones who do not qualify are those who work at companies that employ fewer than 20 individuals. This stimulus is a miracle for those families that have mounting healthcare costs and are terrified of the recent layoffs due to an economic crisis.

What is COBRA?

Cobra is not a sinister military organization inspired by the huggable snake. Instead, COBRA is the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.

This is a replacement of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Internal Revenue Code and the Public Health Service Act. Employees, retirees, spouses and children can continue coverage.

Coverage is usually only available in some circumstances. Those who receive this plan still have to pay a premium, though the premium is lower than that paid by those without the plan.

The number of circumstances in which patients can ask for coverage has changed with the billions that Obama plans to put into action.

Who gets COBRA?

Companies with 20 or more employees working 50% or more of the typical workday are eligible. Part-time employees do not count as a full employee and thus do not contribute fully to whether or not a company receives COBRA.

Qualified beneficiaries are individuals who qualified for COBRA before a particular event which resulted in them being removed from the plan.

Interestingly enough, children who are put up for adoption still fall under COBRA and can receive coverage. For employees, COBRA can be received if the worker is terminated or experiences a significant reduction in hours.

Spouses are entitled to receive COBRA if their spouse is terminated from employment or receives a reduction in hours. The spouse also receives COBRA after the divorce or death of the employed spouse.

Children continue to receive health benefits if they are removed as a dependant or if anything else listed above occurs.

How do I get COBRA?

After the qualifying event, an individual has to apply to the plan administrator for COBRA within 30 days. In the event of a divorce or legal separation, an individual has to notify the plan administrator within 60 days. The individual receives a notice within 14 days.

That individual has 60 days to decide whether or not to elect for COBRA. Then the individual has 45 days to pay the premium. If an individual is denied COBRA coverage, that individual has 60 days to appeal.

Those on disability can qualify for longer health coverage as long as they send a letter from the social security office within 60 days.

What might cause me to lose COBRA?

You will mostly only lose COBRA if you fail to pay your premium or if you are eligible for Medicaid.