June 09, 2009

Stimulus money reduces cost of COBRA for Missourians who lose jobs

Jefferson City, Mo. -The Missouri Department of Insurance is reminding workers who have involuntarily lost their jobs that they can continue their health insurance coverage at a much lower cost, thanks to the federal stimulus plan. Workers who change their place of employment have long had the right to continue their health coverage - known as electing COBRA - but in the past it was their responsibility to pay 100 percent of the premiums. A COBRA subsidy under the stimulus plan allows laid-off employees to pay just 35 percent of the premium for up to nine months.

More specifics of the federal subsidy:

  • The 65% COBRA premium subsidy is available to workers who are involuntarily terminated between Sept. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009.
  • Eligible workers pay 35% of the COBRA premium.
  • The subsidy is available for up to nine months.
  • The employer or health insurer will pay the 65% subsidy amount and can claim that amount as a payroll tax credit at the end of each quarter.

"Missourians who have endured job loss in our struggling economy should not also have to worry about whether their family will have health insurance," said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP).

Missouri consumers with questions about COBRA may call the Consumer Insurance Hotline at 1-800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.