One of the federal subsidies that were created to help laid-off employees continue their Florida health insurance coverage finally ended last August 31, 2011. COBRA is a program under the federal law that allows laid-off workers continue employer provided FL health insurance for 18 months if they pay the entire premium plus the administrative fee.
COBRA was first approved by the Congress last February 2009 to provide solution to the economic crisis that the country was experiencing that time. Sine then, it has helped millions of people who lost their jobs to continue receiving health care coverage. According to Holly Jespersen, one of the million employees who benefited from COBRA, it made a huge difference in her life and wishes she still had it.
Since 2009, the Congress has extended the COBRA subsidy three times to provide coverage to workers who got laid-off. However, last year, lawmakers opposed another extension despite increasing concerns about how unemployed workers will handle health care cost during their unemployment period. The 15 months subsidy finally came to an end.
Is There An Exception On COBRA,
There is, however, one exception made according to the spokesman of the Labor Department. For workers who lost their job before May 31, 2010, are allowed by their employers to keep on receiving their employer sponsored Florida health coverage. Their federal subsidy would start when the employer-provided FL health insurance ends and could extend beyond August 31, 2011.
According to Joe Antos, a health insurance expert, COBRA was not extended because lawmakers need to cut back spending. This was highly and absolutely connected to the Democrats’ and Republicans’ interest in getting control of the federal deficit.
What People Have To Say About COBRA Option Being Faced Out
Consumer advocates mourned over the loss of this federal subsidy for it will just add to the many burdens faced by people losing work.
In a statement by Ron Pollack, the executive director of Families USA, COBRA is a benefit that people who lost their work could not simply afford to lose. Without COBRA, health care coverage is made impossible for these people and their families.
The executive director of Health Access California, Anthony Wright, said that the end of the COBRA will just increase the number of people without health insurance for Florida. This would really make it harder for people juggling multiple jobs just to pay for monthly Florida health insurance premiums. The increasing premiums rob off their money for other necessities in life.
According to Wright, this federal subsidy was stopped to pave the way for the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The law will prohibit health insurance companies to deny health care coverage and charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing health conditions. By 2014, millions of Americans will get healthcare coverage due to the expansion of Medicaid,
“It’s a shame that the COBRA subsidy couldn’t have lasted a little longer, as a true bridge to the exchanges under health reform,” Wright said. He worries that due to the end of COBRA, the government will have a hard time finding these families again.
Florida Health Insurance Alternatives To COBRA
Without that COBRA option, a lot of people are wondering where to turn to maintain heath coverage when they lose their job.
Even when COBRA was an option, people found premiums at half the cost of COBRA premiums. How did they do it, They found low-cost, high-deductible plans that give them low monthly premiums. Some other states even offer full coverage in preventive care services so you won’t have to worry about high out-of-pocket costs for health monitoring services.