Only One in Ten Unemployed Workers Obtain COBRA Coverage

Disability Insurance

Author: Commonwealth Fund
Published: 2009/01/23
Contents: Summary - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: COBRA low income unemployed need new coverage options and financial assistance to keep health insurance.

Introduction

As US unemployment rates reach the highest levels in 16 years, a new analysis from The Commonwealth Fund finds that few laid-off workers - only 9 percent - took up coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

Main Digest

Low-income need new coverage options and financial assistance to keep health insurance.

As US unemployment rates reach the highest levels in 16 years, a new analysis from The Commonwealth Fund finds that few laid-off workers - only 9 percent - took up coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) in 2006.

Unemployed workers who also lose their health insurance would need substantial financial assistance, covering 75 to 85 percent of their health insurance premiums, for their premium contributions to remain at the levels they paid while they were working, according to the report, Maintaining Health Insurance During a Recession: Likely COBRA Eligibility, by Michelle M. Doty, director of survey research at The Commonwealth Fund and colleagues.

The report also finds that low-wage workers are at a particular disadvantage - with only 38 percent eligible to receive COBRA benefits - because they don't receive health insurance through their jobs, work for small firms that aren't required to offer COBRA, or are uninsured to begin with. Coverage options for low-income workers remain limited especially for childless adults because most lack a public coverage option. The authors say that policymakers should consider temporarily expanding Medicaid and SCHIP eligibility to unemployed adults with low incomes, with assistance for premium shares, to provide critical support to families.

Sixty-six percent of all current workers, if laid off, would be eligible to extend their health insurance under COBRA But for most people, COBRA payments are un-affordable, about four to six times higher than the amount of money they contributed to their health insurance when they were employed. According to the report, millions of the eligible could keep their coverage if they could get assistance with their premiums, which average $4,704 per year for an individual and $12,680 a year for a family.

"Americans are losing their jobs at an alarming pace and this report clearly shows that many people cannot afford to take on the expense of COBRA just as they lose their income," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "The number of uninsured Americans could grow markedly during this recession unless we take action to help unemployed Americans keep their health care coverage."

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation supporting independent research on health policy reform and a high performance health system.

Related Publications

Share This Information To:
𝕏.com Facebook Reddit

Page Information, Citing and Disclaimer

Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and carers. We'd love for you to follow and connect with us on social media!

Cite This Page (APA): Commonwealth Fund. (2009, January 23). Only One in Ten Unemployed Workers Obtain COBRA Coverage. Disabled World. Retrieved July 17, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/insurance/cobra-coverage.php

Permalink: <a href="https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/insurance/cobra-coverage.php">Only One in Ten Unemployed Workers Obtain COBRA Coverage</a>: COBRA low income unemployed need new coverage options and financial assistance to keep health insurance.

Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are never meant to substitute for qualified medical care. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.