Tuesday, January 27, 2009

News You Can Use: Wanted - snake charmers; less than 1 in 10 opt for COBRA

Granted, this is more like "News You Likely Already Knew," but new research from The Commonwealth Fund reveals that COBRA is so expensive that just 9% of eligible workers opts for COBRA coverage after losing insurance due to a layoff or other termination.

Unemployed workers who also lose their health insurance would need substantial financial assistance, covering 75% to 85% of their health insurance premiums, for their premium contributions to remain at the levels they paid while they were working, according to the report. That figure comes on the heels of a proposal from President Obama that would subsidize COBRA premiums up to 60% for 18 months, and House passage of a similar proposal.

Even worse off are the 62% of workers ineligble for COBRA coverage because they don't receive health insurance through their jobs, work for small firms that aren't required to offer COBRA, or are uninsured to begin with, Commonwealth finds.

With more layoffs coming, and so many of you against subsidies (see comments on previous post here), what's the answer? Perhaps FSA or HSA funds could be tapped to pay COBRA premiums? Comment below and share your views.

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