Friday, March 27, 2009

Newly laid-off are in luck

If you are among the newly laid off, consider yourself lucky. It may not feel that way, now, but I'll tell you why you're better off than you think: A new federal subsidy will cover 65 percent of COBRA premiums for nine months for workers who lost their jobs after Sept. 1, 2008. So if you're newly out of work and are eligible, sign up for COBRA within 60 days. (Those who already missed that cut-off might be eligible for a second election opportunity.)

Wait more than 60 days, though, and you may not be able to get health insurance at any cost, and if you do, it may not cover any pre-existing conditions.

I don't begrudge this aid to the most recently laid off, though it seems like a backwards way to go about things to help the most recently troubled first. What about those of us who struggled to pay for COBRA until it ran out?

My efforts to keep my health insurance after losing my job, paying for COBRA and then ICHIP, will, I fear, ultimately lead to my losing my house. We juggled insurance and mortgage payments until we couldn't handle either. The insurance is gone. The house is in danger. I can't find a full-time job — and I can scarcely work or look for one in the shape I'm in right now.

There doesn't seem to be any help for people like me.

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