COBRA

COBRA

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

There certainly is a segment of the employer population that has a philosophical opposition to Government’s role here. There are others who are concerned about return-to-work disincentives, or the incongruous nature of cutting Medicare and Medicaid while adding new programs. And there are others who would like to have problem world be [sic] resolved through a voluntary, charity-based approach. We believe that whatever is required of employers should not create disincentive for the growing number of voluntary and negotiated plans, and it certainly should not impose such a burden that the provisions of basic medical insurance will be reduced, be that for small employers, or that the unemployment figures themselves will be increased for larger employers.

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Willis B. Goldbeck, President, Washington Business Group on Health, Testimony, Senate Finance Committee.
04/21/1983 | Full Details | Law(s): COBRA

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.

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Jan Peter Ozga, Director of Health Care, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Testimony, Senate Finance Committee.
04/21/1983 | Full Details | Law(s): COBRA

Eligibility for such a program must be limited in scope….Individuals should be excluded if coverage can be obtained by another family member who is eligible for employer-based coverage or is eligible for continuation of an employer-offered health benefit plan. In addition, persons who are eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or other government programs should be required to use such coverage. Stating this more generally, the new benefit should be secondary to other coverage.

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Statement of Joseph F. Boyle, M.D., Chairman of the Board of Trustees, American Medical Association, Chicago, Accompanied by Dr. James Sammons, Executive Vice President and Harry Peterson, Director, Testimony, Senate Finance Committee.
04/21/1983 | Full Details | Law(s): COBRA

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.

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Don Bliss, Esq., National Association of Manufacturers, Testimony, Senate Finance Committee.
04/21/1983 | Full Details | Law(s): COBRA