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Bill Would Extend Insurance Discount To Californians Laid-Off from Small Firms

Audio

Aired 4/20/09

 

People who've been laid off by small businesses in California could get a break on their health insurance. A bill in the Legislature would extend a federal subsidy to Californians who worked in businesses with fewer than 20 employees. KPBS Reporter Kenny

Goldberg has more.

 

A federal law called COBRA allows laid-off workers to retain their health insurance, as long as they pick up the premiums. That law applies to firms with 20 or more employees.

 

Under the federal stimulus bill, the government will pay for 65 percent of the cost of COBRA coverage. 

 

A bill in the California Assembly would offer that subsidy to laid-off workers of  companies with as few as two employees.  

 

In its first test in the state assembly, the measure passed unanimously. So far, there has been no organized opposition to the bill.

 

The measure would apply to workers who lost their job between last September and the end of this year. People who originally rejected COBRA coverage could reapply.

 

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

 

 

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