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

We also oppose those proposals that would increase employers’ labor costs. Mandating through tax penalties that employers carry laid-off workers for some specified period or open health plan enrollment to spouses, or contribute to an assigned-risk pool, would place them in double financial jeopardy. Employers’ response could be to drop their health care plans altogether and/or lay off more workers.

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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

…we urge you to be sure that these proposals don’t take away the incentive for unemployment claimants to accept part time and temporary jobs when permanent jobs are unavailable. At present, claimants resist such jobs, because earnings from 2 or 3 days of work will often disqualify them from any unemployment benefits. If claimants] lose their health insurance for weeks in which they are disqualified from unemployment benefits, they will have even less incentive to accept work when it is available.

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Eric J. Oxfield, Employee Benefits Attorney, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Testimony, Senate Finance Committee.
04/21/1983 | Full Details | Law(s): COBRA

Finally, we vigorously oppose proposals that would mandate a minimum benefit package. This requirement goes beyond the problem being addressed and infringes on the right of employers and employees to develop the kind of health care coverage they want and can afford at a time when employers and employees are being very creative in the design and are negotiating a very hard line with the providers and carriers of health care for more cost effective health care plans. Such a requirement would be particularly onerous to small businesses, which have been most severely affected by the recent recession.

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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

…we think that intervention should be limited….Our experience tells us that through Blue Cross and Blue Shield and also through a good deal of coverage offered by the commercial carriers there are opportunities for individuals who have been laid off to avail themselves of insurance of one kind or another in many cases.

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Bruce Cardwell, Executive Vice President, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association, Chicago,Testimony, Senate Finance Committee.
04/21/1983 | Full Details | Law(s): COBRA