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
…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.
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.
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.
Governments at all levels are already financially strapped. A national program must not be self-defeating, i.e., it should not so increase the deficit structure as to impede economic recovery. The country’s main objective must remain a return to a healthy economic condition. This is the main problem facing the unemployed.