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COBRA Subsidy Extension Fails; Get Short Term Health Insurance


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A divided Congress failed to pass a bill that would have extended the COBRA health insurance subsidy for jobless workers. COBRA allows ex-employees to continue on their old employer’s health coverage, but it forces them to cover the entire premium–which they are often unable to afford. As part of the 2009 stimulus package, President Obama included a subsidy of up to 65% of the cost of COBRA coverage for those laid off during the recession.

Unfortunately, millions are still unemployed. The subsidies are steadily expiring, but budget concerns have made moderate Democrats (with an eye on winning re-election in November) leery of passing yet another big spending bill. President Obama has begged them to renew the subsidy, but to no avail. As a result, many will let their coverage expire and become uninsured.

However, there is a solution. Short term health insurance coverage can be kept only as long as you need it, until you find another job with health benefits. Most options are typically less generous than a previous employer’s insurance may have been, but that means that it will be more affordable. Such coverage protects you against essential emergencies.

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2 Responses to “COBRA Subsidy Extension Fails; Get Short Term Health Insurance”

  1. Pre-Existing Voter says:

    How DARE you scare people needlessly by posting the false news story:
    “A divided Congress failed to pass a bill that would have extended the COBRA health insurance subsidy for jobless workers.” This is NOT the case, there has yet to be a vote on the proposed senate amendment to extend COBRA.

    And you post this falsehood in order to try and sell short-term insurance?:
    “However, there is a solution. Short term health insurance coverage can be kept only as long as you need it, until you find another job with health benefits.”

    While the proposed extension MAY end up failing, such scare tactics are unforgiveable. There are many people who CAN’T get short-term health insurance (even short-term insurance doesn’t allow people with pre-existing conditions), and who are monitoring the news closely in the hopes that there will be a COBRA extension. An erroneous posting such as yours (especially for commercial reasons) is cruel and shameful!

  2. Yamileth says:

    Thank you for your comment in response to my post. I appreciate all constructive criticism.

    It wasn’t my intention to use scare tactics. I didn’t intend to imply that the extension of the COBRA subsidy would definitely fail, just that it looked unlikely that it would pass. While it still does need to go before the Senate, senators tend to be even more fixated on the budget and deficits than the House, so they’d probably object to the additional spending even more.

    Meanwhile, President Obama doesn’t have much political capital to spare right now to get that bill passed. He already has his hands full dealing with BP and the Gulf oil spill. Therefore, I predicted that the bill would fall by the wayside. Of course, nothing is guaranteed in Washington. Personally, I hope the bill does succeed.

    As for the temporary health insurance issue, I completely understand your concern. It was my fault that I forgot to mention that those plans don’t work for most people with pre-existing conditions. Unfortunately, we have to work within the current market environment–not the ideal, or what may be a couple years from now. Given the current options for unemployed Americans, I genuinely do believe that short term coverage is a possibility for those who are generally healthy–and the policy can be canceled if the subsidy is restored. Although 57 million Americans have pre-existing conditions, many of the currently unemployed do not. I believe that they should know about all their options.

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