Unemployed workers left without health insurance as COBRA expires

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It is a hard day for the unemployed as COBRA subsidies expire for the uninsured.

This expiration leaves laid-off Americans without health insurance.

The COBRA subsidies began last March as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

These allowances were allotted to enable millions of unemployed workers to afford COBRA premiums and continue the health coverage from their previous employer.

Without these subsidies, premiums would have consumed 83.4 percent of the average unemployment check.

This would have put continued health coverage out of reach for most families.

Today that fear is a reality for 7.4 percent of Louisianans who are left without work.

Beginning today no new unemployed workers will be provided with subsidies unless the program is renewed.

Congressman Charles Boustany (R-LA) says although the program did some good for the unemployed, he feels it failed to meet all the needs of those left unemployed when it comes to paying for health insurance.

"If we had real affordability where individuals bought and owned their health insurance policies at an affordable rate, then we would solved this problem," says Boustany. "That's one of the issues I've pushed consistently here in Congress. We need to let individuals and families control their own health care destiny rather than locking them into a job.

Congressman Boustany says bills have been introduced to extend the program, however there is no movement on any of the bills right now in the House of Representatives.

Families USA is releasing a special report laying out how the COBRA program makes health insurance affordable in Louisiana.

To read the full report, click on "Expiration of COBRA Subsidy" to the right.

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