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Jobless Should Evaluate COBRA, Medicare in Light of 2009 Recovery Act
Date:4/15/2009

ARRA.aspx?=PRW09-7" onclick="linkClick( this.href );" target="_blank" title="considerations for those who may be eligible for Medicare">considerations for those who may be eligible for Medicare.

How the ARRA Affects COBRA
Under the ARRA, people who lost their jobs involuntarily between Sept. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2009, and whose former employers offer COBRA coverage only have to pay 35 percent of their monthly premiums while the former employer picks up the remaining 65 percent (and is later reimbursed in the form of a tax credit). The COBRA premium reduction remains in effect for up to nine months.

Allsup provides more detail about involuntary versus voluntary termination on Allsup.com.

Who Qualifies
If you lost your job due to an involuntary termination within the period listed above and don't have access to other comprehensive healthcare coverage (such as Medicare or an employer plan), you are eligible for reduced-cost COBRA and the special enrollment period. You must make less than $125,000 for an individual or less than $250,000 for married people filing jointly. If you qualify, you should get a notice within the next 30 to 45 days from your former employer with details about your available options.

If You Chose Not to Use COBRA and Don't Have Coverage
Those who originally chose not to take advantage of a former employer's COBRA coverage for whatever reason and still are not covered (or don't have access to affordable healthcare coverage) can re-join a former employer's plan for the 65 percent premium reduction. In this case, you may be eligible for a special enrollment period of 60 days.

If You Use or Become Eligible for Other Healthcare Coverage
If you now have access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare coverage (e.g. offered through an employer or Medicare) or become eligible for such coverage, you cannot take advantage of lower-cost COBRA coverage under ARRA, whether or not you are cur
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