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

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.

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

As we devise legislation of this kind, my observation through the years has been that we tend to work at the Federal end of the chain. We will put the money in the Federal end, and it’s almost always on the assumption that the party at the very other end gets his full cost. If there ever was a circumstance under which you wanted the various parties and participants to share, this is the circumstance. I would again come back to fostering and leaving opportunities open for encouraging initiatives on the part of the insurance underwriters, providers, and communities to share in the cost of this problem. Don’t make it so easy. Don’t just give 100 percent Federal money. Somebody has got to start giving on the chain.

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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

Health care and unemployment are basically State-level concerns, with corresponding programs to meet these needs. The issue of health insurance for the unemployed should also be resolved at that level, without Federal intervention. Currently, 29 States have enacted some legislation dealing with health insurance and unemployment. We advocate that the States continue to resolve this and other health insurance matters.

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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