Categorized | Economy

COBRA Stimulus Package

Just as a refresher, COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. COBRA in itself sounds very dangerous etc. cuz its one of the most poisonous snakes to be found on earth but here in the Federal context it might as well be your life line.

The Obama’s Administration Stimulus plan will have a provision which would allow laid off employees to continue their former employer’s coverage for up to 18 months. The difference is that before the passing of this bill, employees usually had to pay about 102% of the premium.

Stimulus Package COBRA

The new stimulus bill (or spending bill) is going to subsidize 65% of COBRA premiums for up to the duration of nine months. However there is a catch. The subsidy is limited to workers who were laid off between Sept. 1, 2008, and the end of this year. So its not for everybody. Government does not want to give incentives to employers to fire their workers 😉

Check out More Details On COBRA From – CLICK HERE

All in all I have mixed feelings about it. I don’t know much about what a family faces when the main income earning family member is laid off and what goes through the process. Perhaps with regards to this bill specifically more details would follow through.

    57 Responses to “COBRA Stimulus Package”

    1. Mary Kliewer says:

      I don’t see any incentive for an Employer to lay off Employees because of this. The Employer still has to pay upfront 100% of the health insurance premium to the Insurance Carrierand then take a credit after the fact. That isn’t an incentive to do anything except cancel the group health insurance policy all together and then the COBRA just goes away. :)

    2. Mary Kliewer says:

      I don’t see any incentive for an Employer to lay off Employees because of this. The Employer still has to pay upfront 100% of the health insurance premium to the Insurance Carrierand then take a credit after the fact. That isn’t an incentive to do anything except cancel the group health insurance policy all together and then the right to continue electing COBRA by the former Employee just goes away and they have to apply for Individual coverage and pass medical underwriting. As usual the government has missed the point!

    3. Gina BoBeena says:

      So I am one of the folks who will take advantage of the help- Does anybody know the process as to how to get this subsidary help started?

    4. Mark T says:

      Hi Gina,
      You dont have to do anything. Your ex-employer is required to notify you in writing of your options,then you decide to use the COBRA benefit or not.

    5. Dennis says:

      When should we hear from our ex-employers regarding this Cobra stimulus?
      Is there a required date of notification?

    6. Tina says:

      I was laid off from work on 08/15/08. However, I received severance through December 2008. Thus my medical was cancelled 01/01/09. I haven’t signed up for COBRA as rates are high. Does anyone know if I would qualify for stimulus? If I want COBRA to be continuous, I need to sign up within 3 weeks. I emailed representative on 09/19/08 but I guess they are too busy to help me.

    7. kb says:

      Im a college student and my father was recently laid off from a start up company. Slightly more recently I was in a serious automobile accident. There was concern that insurance may run out before I can walk again…but thanks to this I will be taken care of, and will be able to go back to work and school.

    8. george says:


      I think you, I, and thousands of others are in kind of the same sinking boat. I was laid off in mid July, but my Cobra didn’t start until November. The feedback I’ve gotten from everyone is you had to be laid off after Sept 1st.
      I emailed my Congressman and Senators and Senator Cochran actually responded. His office forwarded my questions to someone with MS Dept of Insurance and is supposed to let me know something. In the meantime I am going to check with them myself and post my findings here.

    9. barb says:

      I need help! Husband was just laid off and carried family insurance. My employer will cover my insurance (catastrophic policy only) if we can change husband’s coverage to himself and dependents. Can we qualify for 65% cobra coverage?

    10. cohara says:

      my cobra ended 12/31/08. am i eligable for anything? i currently pay over %500 a month for insurance ( pre-existing conditions, i am lucky i got that, no one would insure me ) VERY large deductable, awful RX plan.
      I live in PA. single, live alone..middle age, i can not afford to keep, can not afford to drop. who do i contact? contact me directly at
      i am on long term disbility & do not qualify for state aid, was denied SS, most cases in PA are. thanks in advance for your help & advice.

    11. Karen says:

      My husband was laid off a week before Christmas. We have two children, one with special needs. We lost our family benefits one month later due to my husbands lay-off.

      We were thinking about putting our home on the market and selling because we can’t go without benefits and can’t afford to pay all our bills and stay in our home, but now with the new Obama’s Administration making this change, we can stay in our home and continue to pay for our benefits so our child can get the kind of medical help she needs.


    12. Thomas says:

      I was laid off on August 1,2008 and fall into the group who do not qualify for the stimulas cobra by one month. There has to be a way for people to get this reduction prior to Sept.1 deadline.

    13. Valorie says:

      Does this still apply if Cobra is used because of Disability and not layoff? My sister was approved for disability in May 2007 and became permenent in May of 2009 but her premiums are still $600+ per month.

    14. james says:

      I was laid off while on disability on Dec. 1st 08 did not continue with cobra due to a $400+ cost monthly…this plan which was in fact mailed to me brought the coverage down to $140+ a month, As of 3/1 I am covered…still trying to resolve pharmacy cost issues and still queezy about this plan but I do know getting through to them is very tough, very busy…so I give them the benefit of the doubt, I hope it prevails to be what they promise, I can tell you its very important to some way continue your health care for the obvious reason of your health, but also for future coverage, extended non coverage period makes for tough eligability later…the plan so far gets a B…still waiting but feel better being covered, good luck all!

    15. Tanya says:

      I was laid off from my job after 21 years on April 23, 2009. I was paid severance insurance through my employer for two months. After two months I am responsible for paying my own coverage. I have the opportunity to continue my group coverage (not Cobra). I was employed with a firm with less than 20 employees. Am I eligible for the “Obama Stimulus Plan” coverage where my employer should pay 65% of my health insurance rate???

      • Dan says:

        You still qualify for Cobra continuation discount even if your former company had less than 20 employees. In that case the insurance company through which the employer placed the medical coverage must contribute the 65% of the cost of the coverage. The insurance then receives the same tax credit as reimbursement.

    16. Kathy says:

      My husband was laid off in March 2009. We were offered Cobra through his former employer and elected to take it. We filled out all forms and paid a premium, yet we have gotten no insurance card, i.d. number. We are in great need of this health insurance. We have contacted this insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Cobra billing administrative company, the middle man Ceridian, and still have no coverage. We keep getting the run-a-round! What do we do next?

      • john says:

        I don’t think your health coverage changes ur old cards are what u use that’s what I did its still covered under ur job just that u pay it now

      • Sara says:

        I have had the same problem. I called Ceridian, and my health insurance company (Medical Mutual) and both are telling me it’s up to the other company to give me my new bin# and group#. I still have my insurance card from when I was employed, but the pharmacy won’t take it. They say I need a new card. This is all so confusing and difficult since I have Type 1 diabetes and cannot afford to pay $330 out of pocket for insulin. Does anyone know who I might contact about this?

    17. Luis Santamaria says:

      I was laid off on December 18, 2008. i initially declined the COBRA coverage since I could not afford it; then I received notice on April 17, 2009, about the ARRA subsidy and I applied inmediatly.
      The administrator of the COBRA insurance for my former employer, didn’t contact me for the following 45 days, until I was able to stablish that my application had not been approved because “one page of the form was missing”, (???). I sent a copy of the alleged missing page; three weeks later they call me to say that “in the missing page, I had answered some questions using checkmarks, and that was improper” (!!!!). I faxed the page again with the answers now answered with circles. The result of all this is that my application was in process for more than three months, during which I was not entitled to health care and now they are sending me a series of overdue payment coupons, retroactive to March 2009, and I was supossed to send this payments, (that total more than one thousand dollars) postmarked not later than July 11,2009. This is putting me out of the possibility of obtaining health coverage for me and for my wife, and prevents me from getting the benefit of the subsidy offered by the goverment through ARRA.

    18. Stefan says:

      I was laid off on July 10th and am paying $430 per month for myself for COBRA insurance. Why the Sept 1st deadline? Their are a lot of people that got laid off prior to Sept 1st.

    19. Diane Allen says:

      Why hasn’t Obama extended the Cobra Stimulus to unemployed workers!!!??? I am one of those people and now for 2 of us, the premium is almost $800.00 a month!!!!! This is absolutely terrible!!!

    20. john says:

      Does anyone know if the Cobra stimulus pack will be extended for after the 9 months @ 35%

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