What we commonly refer to as COBRA, short-term health insurance for the unemployed, was included in the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. It grants workers and their families the option to keep their group insurance health benefits for up to 18 months (although the exact time may vary depending on a number of factors). COBRA enables a worker to purchase health insurance through their ex-employer, if they are subject to a “qualifying event”, even though they no longer work there. A qualifying event includes the end of employment for any reason other than “gross misconduct”, or a reduction in work hours (again for anything other than gross misconduct). Only employers with 20 or more workers are subject to COBRA.
Cry Wolf Quotes
Many options already exist to provide unemployed persons with health insurance or protection against health care costs. These include: continuous coverage provisions in many employer-paid health care plans; the conversion privilege offered in many of these same plans: coverage under a spouse’s or other relative’s plan; and the social safety net, Medicaid.
We believe that the experience of the last few years teaches that in addressing problems of health care financing we should try at all costs to avoid the establishment of new Federal or State bureaucracies and regulatory regimes. We, further, should avoid the creation of new Government entitlement programs, the addition of new financial burdens on the Federal Health care budget, or the distortion of the marketplace by eliminating choice or reducing competition in health care.
…the chamber remains committed to sound policies that will improve the economy and promote employment. We also remain committed to promoting the solvency of the States’ beleaguered unemployment insurance fund….First, the problem of lack of health insurance for the unemployed will abate as the economy continues to improve and unemployment is reduced. A continuation of the trend toward a reduction in taxation, regulation, and interest rates will help to achieve the dual goal of fuller employment and protection against health care costs.
All too often such well-intended Federal programs simply fuel the flames of spiraling health care cost inflation, diffuse the concentration of limited Federal dollars on the truly medically needy who must rely on Government entitlements for any medical care, and exacerbate the rising uncontrollable element in the Federal deficit which we must get under control if we are going to put people back to work—which is the real objective that would meet the problem addressed by this committee.