A new federal plan gives laid-off people a 65 percent discount on their COBRA health insurance premiums.
Workers who lose their jobs usually lose their health benefits. But the federal government is giving laid-off people a hefty discount to help them hold onto their coverage.
When someone leaves a job a federal law called COBRA allows them to temporarily keep their workplace health insurance. But it’s a pricey option. A single person can pay $400 a month. Family plans cost $1000 or more.
The federal stimulus plan gives laid-off workers a 65 percent discount for nine months. But in Pennsylvania small businesses don’t qualify for COBRA, so workers laid off from small firms don’t get a break on their premiums. Representative Rob Matzie is sponsoring the House bill that would change that.
Matzie: Unless we have the statue in place for the mini-COBRA to cover small employers — who have between two and 20 employees — we would not be able to take advantage of this relief under the stimulus package.
A similar bill has already cleared the state Senate.