What we commonly refer to as COBRA, short-term health insurance for the unemployed, was included in the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. It grants workers and their families the option to keep their group insurance health benefits for up to 18 months (although the exact time may vary depending on a number of factors). COBRA enables a worker to purchase health insurance through their ex-employer, if they are subject to a “qualifying event”, even though they no longer work there. A qualifying event includes the end of employment for any reason other than “gross misconduct”, or a reduction in work hours (again for anything other than gross misconduct). Only employers with 20 or more workers are subject to COBRA.
Cry Wolf Quotes
…we think that intervention should be limited….Our experience tells us that through Blue Cross and Blue Shield and also through a good deal of coverage offered by the commercial carriers there are opportunities for individuals who have been laid off to avail themselves of insurance of one kind or another in many cases.
Health care and unemployment are basically State-level concerns, with corresponding programs to meet these needs. The issue of health insurance for the unemployed should also be resolved at that level, without Federal intervention. Currently, 29 States have enacted some legislation dealing with health insurance and unemployment. We advocate that the States continue to resolve this and other health insurance matters.
Private insurance must be the vehicle for benefit coverage. This new program must not become enmeshed with Medicare and Medicaid. Caution must be expressed lest new troubles be created through expansion of an entitlement concept.
As we devise legislation of this kind, my observation through the years has been that we tend to work at the Federal end of the chain. We will put the money in the Federal end, and it’s almost always on the assumption that the party at the very other end gets his full cost. If there ever was a circumstance under which you wanted the various parties and participants to share, this is the circumstance. I would again come back to fostering and leaving opportunities open for encouraging initiatives on the part of the insurance underwriters, providers, and communities to share in the cost of this problem. Don’t make it so easy. Don’t just give 100 percent Federal money. Somebody has got to start giving on the chain.