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

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.

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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

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

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

Unemployment always lags behind the business cycle and is highest when recovery has begun. In such periods, when pessimism is pervasive, costly proposals are often advanced, such as public programs to create jobs, mortgage subsidies, and health insurance for the unemployed. These proposals always prove to be unnecessary since they never get fully started until recovery is going strong. Furthermore, such programs would increase the federal deficit at a time when it needs to be reduced. This would mean applying the wrong solutions, which would increase the deficit, abort the recovery, reinflate the economy and continue unacceptable high levels of employment.

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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