With the debate underway in the Senate, many American families are beginning to feel hope that the overhaul our system needs is closer than ever. The need for reform remains apparent as many Americans lose their health insurance on December 1 as the COBRA subsidies expire. Families USA has come out with a special report highlighting this devastating trend:
Expiration of COBRA Subsidy: Millions of Uninsured Workers and Their Dependents Are at Risk; Many Will Lose Their Subsidy as of December 1, 2009
In February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed into law. One important effect of this law was that it provided recently laid off workers with a health insurance subsidy to help them cover the excessive cost of their COBRA insurance plans. This temporary subsidy is set to expire as of December 1, 2009, and as Families USA shows in their report, many Americans will lose their subsidy and as a result their health insurance.
The loss of these subsidies will be severe: Unemployed families could see their premiums increase from $389 to $1,111 per month. An average monthly premium could consume 83.4% of the average unemployment paycheck, leaving little to survive on.
This report highlights the importance of extending this temporary subsidy, but even more so it demonstrates the desperate need to reform our health care system. A reformed system would not make families dependent on COBRA and would offer them a new, permanent source of help.
[Source: Families USA]