Biden Stimulus Calls for Free COBRA Health Insurance for Laid-Off Workers

Alexander Raths /

A clause in the latest Biden stimulus package eliminates Cobra premium payments through September.

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The government will pay 100% of  laid-off workers’ COBRA payments beginning April 1 and lasting through September, Forbes reports.

COBRA is a type of health insurance that typically allows people who leave a company to continue their company’s health insurance if they pay their normal premium plus the share that their employer was paying. COBRA typically has a maximum length of 18 months but is often too expensive to continue for more than a couple of months.

The average COBRA payment for individuals is roughly $622 per month, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, making it difficult to keep up, especially if new employment hasn’t been found.

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Biden’s stimulus plan allows for payment of both the employer and employee share of the COBRA premium, covering 100% of costs through Sept. 30, according to CNBC.

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While the government subsidy covers the premium, you might still owe copays and deductibles depending on the treatments you receive.

Laid-off workers have the option of enrolling in COBRA for 60 days after their last day of work. However, if you turned down coverage in August 2020 because premiums were too high, you can now go back and enroll, CNBC reports. You do not qualify if you left your job voluntarily or are eligible for Medicare or another employer plan, such as your spouse’s or your new employer’s.

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COBRA’s main benefit is that you can keep all of your same medical professionals, as the relief bill staves off any need to change at least through Sept. 30.

After September 30th, you would be responsible for the full amount of the premium.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 

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