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

Let us go on the record as saying we believe that this program should be temporary. Clearly, we share with the chairman [Senator Bob Dole] the belief that the general economy is not by tomorrow going to turn upside down, and during the time in which it takes to do that, this program should be in place. But it should indeed be temporary. It should have a limited scope. Indeed, we are not in a position in this country today to institute another Cadillac-care program when it is not necessary…Certainly we do not wish to see this become another entitlement program…”

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Dr. James Sammons, of the American Medical Association, Joseph F. Boyle, M.D., Chairman of the Board of Trustees, American Medical Association, Executive Vice President and Harry Peterson, Director, 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

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

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