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Health Insurance Subsidy Set To Expire

Audio

Aired 2/15/10

Unless the U.S. Senate acts soon, newly unemployed people won't get a federal subsidy to help them pay for their health insurance. The subsidy covers 65 percent of the cost.

— Unless the U.S. Senate acts soon, newly unemployed people won't get a federal subsidy to help them pay for their health insurance. The subsidy covers 65 percent of the cost.

People who lose their jobs can keep their employer-provided health insurance through the COBRA program. But workers have to pay the full premium. In California, a family plan can run $1100 a month.

A COBRA subsidy can bring the cost down to $388 a month.

Kathleen Stoll is with the non-profit group Families USA. She says unemployed Californians would be in bad shape without the subsidy.

"When you're talking about using up 80 to 85 percent of your unemployment check just to provide health security for your family by purchasing insurance coverage, that's not realistic," Stoll said.

The COBRA subsidy will expire at end of February. The House has approved an extension, but the Senate hasn't acted yet.

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