Ask Andy: COBRA assistance - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andy Wise

Ask Andy: COBRA assistance

A health care advocate best described COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985) health care coverage as "good in theory, bad in reality."

The extended coverage plan passed by Congress in 1985 allows laid-off workers to keep their employers' health insurance, but they must pick up the full cost.

I don't have to tell you it adds up.  I certainly don't have to tell "Jim" of Cordova, TN:

"I have been out of work for over a year and paying for COBRA insurance, is there any help with Obama's stimulus package to help pay a part of the monthly cost...?"

Yes, there is.  The President's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act offers a 65 percent subsidy for nine months on COBRA premiums.

To use Jim as an example, he tells me he pays $377 a month, one of the lower monthly COBRA premiums in the country according to average state figures. 

If he qualifies for the assistance, his out-of-pocket premium will drop to $131.95, according to

Jim's COBRA provider told him his former employer would have to notify the provider which employees are eligible for the premium break by April 17.  Either the employer or the provider would notify those who qualify.

For more information on the COBRA subsidy, click on these links from the U.S. Department of Labor:

To compare COBRA costs with other health care plans, link here to's helpful site:



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