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Subject:  Re: Poll: E-fund Date:  5/11/2013  9:54 PM
Author:  TheEvilDrP Number:  307020 of 312161

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by 'using COBRA to cover medical insurance premiums'. While COBRA was named for the budget bill (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconcilation Act) that made the right to continue to receive medical coverage from an employer into law, there is no government funding for COBRA. It's strictly between the employer and those who lost insurance coverage.

COBRA requires employers who offer medical coverage to offer medical insurance to former employees and the employee's dependents at up to 102% of the employer's cost for insurance, with the extra 2% as an incentive to help the employer with administration costs, so employers wouldn't drop medical coverage because they had to offer COBRA. Depending on why the insurance coverage was lost, there can be different timeframes that COBRA can be in place.

Oh, yes, I know how it is named and used. What I mean by a better use of it is that the law could have been designed so that the people who are already out of work and least able to spend a huge amount on medical insurance are better covered. A different approach might have been to require that the medical insurance premiums are covered by the employer at the same rate for three months if an employee has been laid off (not fired for cause).

The law is good in theory, in that medical coverage can continue uninterrupted so long as you have the funds to cover the premiums. It is inane in that people who are laid off have to add the employer-sponsored premiums into their budget at a time when they are least able to afford it. There just seems like there should be a better way around this problem.

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