Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Hope for the COBRA Subsidy?

New hope for the COBRA subsidy? Kaiser Health News reports:

Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, are pushing a new bill, with a new way to pay for it, to extend a 65 percent health insurance subsidy that helps the laid off afford to keep their former employer's health insurance, known as COBRA. The Hill reports that the senators hope "their COBRA subsidy bill — which would pay for itself with more than $1 billion to spare [it'd cost $4.1 billion] — can win support from the budget hawks who have slowed the upper chamber to a crawl over deficit spending concerns." The subsidy ran out June 1, and people laid off after that date haven't been eligible for the subsidy "leaving more than 140,000 families ineligible each month, according to estimates from the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group. … The Casey/Brown proposal would extend the enrollment deadline through November, retroactive to June 1. Those entering the program over that span would be eligible to receive six months of federal help." The lawmakers hope to pay for the program by eliminating a tax break on a specific type of asset transfer called a short-term grantor retained annuity trust (Lillis, 6/30).
Fingers and toes crossed. Jennifer

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