Stimulus Plan to Provide Some Help to Unemployed

Far from perfect, I think the Stimulus Bill is better than doing nothing. And “doing nothing” is a big part of what got us into this mess in the first place. (Thanks a lot, George ….).  President Obama is set to sign the bill into law today, and while I’ve heard a lot about the extra $8.00 that I will apparently get in my paycheck soon, I’ve been wondering about all the people in this country who are not receiving a paycheck right now because they’ve been laid off. The LA Times is one of the only places reporting on that little nugget. It turns out there will be some assistance for paying for COBRA (that elusive health insurance continuance that neither I nor anyone I know who has ever been laid off has been able to afford):

You’re eligible if you were laid off after Sept. 30, 2008, or are laid off any time between Tuesday (when the bill is expected to become law) and Dec. 31, and if you worked for an employer required to offer you the option of extending your healthcare coverage for 18 months, at 102% of the cost to the company.

The subsidy will pay 65% of your monthly COBRA bill directly to the employer (in the form of a payroll tax credit) once you have paid 35% of the bill. If you did not elect to continue your insurance coverage under COBRA — say, because the bill was too steep — your former employer is now required to give you another chance to sign up. If you did elect to buy the COBRA insurance and have been paying the full cost of the insurance, the subsidy is retroactive to Sept. 30, 2008. Your former employer must give you that subsidy either as a credit toward future COBRA payments, or as an outright refund if you are no longer enrolled (this retroactive provision is new to the bill and had not been anticipated in any earlier version of the measure).

Read more at the LA Times.


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