Federal Health Insurance Subsidies For Laid-Off Workers End Today

Kaiser Health News reports that federal subsidies to help laid-off workers continue their health care coverage — “one of the key consumer benefits of the federal stimulus package” — will end today. Millions of laid-off workers benefitted from federal subsidies for COBRA, a program that allows people who lose their jobs to keep employer-provided insurance, usually for 18 months, if they pay the entire premium and some part of the administrative fees. Congress extended the COBRA subsidy three times to cover workers who lost their jobs through May 2010, but increasing concern about the national deficit led them to decline another extension last year. Health care costs for the unemployed are expected to rise sharply and with them, concerns about how millions of families will cover those expenses.