As you know if you've followed this blog, employees who are involuntarily terminated from their employment have been eligible for a 65% federal subsidy of COBRA premiums. COBRA allows workers to continue their health insurance for 18 months after they leave a job, although the norm under COBRA is that you pay the premium yourself. In light of high unemployment rates, Congress agreed to subsidize COBRA so that involuntarily unemployed people would only have to pay 35% of the COBRA premium. This has been extended through the end of May, but it will expire on June 1 if Congress does not extend it further.
According to Kaiser Health News, the expectation is that the COBRA subsidy will be extended through the end of the year. Obviously, that would be welcome relief to the involuntarily unemployed -- especially those with pre-existing conditions who can't find other insurance.
Congress also will consider extending unemployment benefits through the end of the year. The COBRA subsidy and unemployment benefits have been treated in tandem all year. I suspect that, if one is extended, the other will be, as well.
Stay tuned; I'll let you know when Congress acts on this. Jennifer