Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

U.S. Health Insurance: Only About One Of Ten Unemployed Workers Obtain COBRA Coverage

Date:
January 23, 2009
Source:
Commonwealth Fund
Summary:
As unemployment rates reach the highest levels in 16 years, a new analysis from the Commonwealth Fund finds that few laid-off workers -- only 9 percent -- took up coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act in 2006. Unemployed workers who also lose their health insurance would need substantial financial assistance, covering 75 to 85 percent of their health insurance premiums, for their premium contributions to remain at levels they paid while they were working.

As unemployment rates reach the highest levels in 16 years, a new analysis from The Commonwealth Fund finds that few laid-off workers—only 9 percent—took up coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) in 2006.

Unemployed workers who also lose their health insurance would need substantial financial assistance, covering 75 to 85 percent of their health insurance premiums, for their premium contributions to remain at the levels they paid while they were working, according to the report, Maintaining Health Insurance During a Recession: Likely COBRA Eligibility, by Michelle M. Doty, director of survey research at The Commonwealth Fund and colleagues.

The report also finds that low-wage workers are at a particular disadvantage—with only 38 percent eligible to receive COBRA benefits—because they don't receive health insurance through their jobs, work for small firms that aren't required to offer COBRA, or are uninsured to begin with. Coverage options for low-income workers remain limited especially for childless adults because most lack a public coverage option. The authors say that policymakers should consider temporarily expanding Medicaid and SCHIP eligibility to unemployed adults with low incomes, with assistance for premium shares, to provide critical support to families.

Sixty-six percent of all current workers, if laid off, would be eligible to extend their health insurance under COBRA But for most people, COBRA payments are unaffordable, about four to six times higher than the amount of money they contributed to their health insurance when they were employed. According to the report, millions of the eligible could keep their coverage if they could get assistance with their premiums, which average $4,704 per year for an individual and $12,680 a year for a family.

"Americans are losing their jobs at an alarming pace and this report clearly shows that many people cannot afford to take on the expense of COBRA just as they lose their income," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "The number of uninsured Americans could grow markedly during this recession unless we take action to help unemployed Americans keep their health care coverage."

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation supporting independent research on health policy reform and a high performance health system.

Reference: M. M. Doty, S. D. Rustgi, C. Schoen, and S. R. Collins, Maintaining Health Insurance During a Recession: Likely COBRA Eligibility, The Commonwealth Fund, January 2009.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Commonwealth Fund. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Commonwealth Fund. "U.S. Health Insurance: Only About One Of Ten Unemployed Workers Obtain COBRA Coverage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123075004.htm>.
Commonwealth Fund. (2009, January 23). U.S. Health Insurance: Only About One Of Ten Unemployed Workers Obtain COBRA Coverage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123075004.htm
Commonwealth Fund. "U.S. Health Insurance: Only About One Of Ten Unemployed Workers Obtain COBRA Coverage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123075004.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins