O-B-A-M-A and C-0-B-R-A

By Molly MacDonald

In the last few weeks, we at The Pink Fund have learned from some potential recipients that they are taking advantage of the Obama Administration’s “We understand program.” I made that up, the we understand part that is. It is really all part of his stimulus package to help folks out in tough times.

Regardless of what you call it, this plan, which can reduce your COBRA payment up to 65% would have spared our family from the humiliation of making monthly trips to the food bank when I was in treatment.

I am not knocking the food bank here, and believe me I was very very grateful for what little they supplied which was alot of generic canned stuff and some beef that came in a plastic tube, a box of sugar cereal, two rolls of toilet paper (wow that really got us through the month) and a box of tampons, which I personally no longer needed and could donate back to the foodbank at Thanksgiving when the call came to help those in need, aka, US. Of course there were some other nutritional products in the box, like candy bars and soda. The kids loved that, but ah I digress . . .

Our monthly COBRA payment was almost $1200. 35% of that would have left us with roughly $700 in spare change, not that we had any change to speak of, except scrounging around for empties wherever we found them to help pay the utility bills.

If you are unaware, because we basically have no newspapers anymore, here is the plan, per Suze Orman on Oprah’s web magazine . . . .. gotta love these girls!

Cheaper health insurance for people who are laid off. If you lose your job between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009, and your employer is covered by COBRA, the federal government may now subsidize 65 percent of the cost of your health insurance premiums for up to nine months. additional 20 to 33 weeks of benefits beyond their regular state coverage of 26 weeks. In addition, $25 a week will be added to all benefit payments. Moreover, the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits you receive in 2009 will be federal-tax-free.
Under the old COBRA rules, firms with at least 20 employees had to allow any laid-off worker to stay on the company health plan, but the employee had to pay 100 percent of the premium cost and could also be charged an extra 2 percent administration fee. Under the new act, you can stay on your company plan and pay just 35 percent of the total cost for up to nine months. But you should shop around for private coverage; it may be more affordable than even a subsidized COBRA policy. Start your search at ehealthinsurance.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Patrice Romzick

     /  August 13, 2009

    Great article. I wasn’t aware of the subsidy.


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