New Coronavirus Bill Aims to Cover COBRA Premiums for Laid Off Workers

By Consumers For Quality Care, on May 5, 2021

New Coronavirus Bill Aims to Cover COBRA Premiums for Laid Off Workers

According to Arizona’s Family, under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, the government will cover COBRA premiums for those who were laid off and lost their employer-sponsored insurance.

Previously, continuation of coverage through COBRA was still available for those who lost their jobs and insurance, but it was very expensive as employees had to pay both their share and the amount their former employer covered.

“I’m forking out $600 a month of COBRA money to keep my medical and dental going from my previous employer,” said Marc Chatow, a Phoenix resident who was laid off from his job of 11 years. “When you’re not working, it’s difficult to put out that much money. At least I know now there’s something out there that can help.”

The plan will also allow those who opted out of COBRA coverage to opt back into the plan. Employers will be required to notify employees about the change.

While the change is welcome, it is also temporary. The subsidies will only last through September.

A permanent solution must be reached and put into law to ensure continuation of coverage is available at a reasonable price, pandemic and economic downturn or not. The pandemic and ensuing economic issues have exacerbated broader issues that have long existed within the United States health care system, and that should be fixed before we experience another health care crisis.