Law Offers Assistance on Health Insurance for Nine Months

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What subsidy?

The stimulus package President Obama signed into law in February includes subsidies allowing laid-off workers to retain employer-provided group health insurance coverage at a discount.

How much?

Eligible individuals pay 35 percent of the normal premiums. The remaining 65 percent is paid by the employer, which is reimbursed by the government through a payroll tax credit.

How long does it last?

Nine months.

Who qualifies?

Employees who are involuntarily terminated from Sept. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2009, and who are eligible for continued coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA). Individuals whose annual adjusted gross income exceeds $145,000 ($290,000 for joint filers) are not eligible.

What kind of coverage?

Employers must provide the same benefits as in your old group plan, although they can offer other plans as well.

How do I apply?

Your employer or its representative is required to give you notice that you may be eligible. You also have to attest in writing that you meet certain criteria. You will have 60 days after receiving the notice to make a decision whether to participate.

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