30 March 2009


I'm still not used to the new ARRA acronym (for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) but a year ago I couldn't have explained the meaning behind COBRA, either. (COBRA = Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985)

When the two acronyms come together, it is to describe the extension of health care benefits for employees facing lay-off. ARRA provides help in paying the premiums for people who lose their jobs in 2009 or (looking backward just a bit) in the fall of 2008. So, the span of September 1, 2008 to December 31, 2009 is covered. The support is meaningful: 9 months of reduced premiums that will allow many families to keep their insurance.

The U.S. Department of Labor has updated their web pages to explain COBRA and ARRA. I think the fastest way to read about the provisions is through Questions and Answers, and the Labor Dept does that well on their FAQ page. Note the "Printer Friendly Version" link. That permits you to move to hard copy and highlight the portions that apply to your situation.

On a personal note: For my immediate family, COBRA is a frequent topic. Tom Bold was laid off in Spring 2008 and so is on his last several months of COBRA coverage. He was not eligible for the ARRA provision but did receive 9 months of coverage from his former employer; we are humble about that, realizing that it's not the typical support of the newly laid off. I retired from a position in September 2008 and began paying for COBRA at that time. I am not eligible for ARRA support because my retirement was voluntary. One of our offspring was recently laid off and is covered by the ARRA support for COBRA. Our other offspring? Employed. Good!

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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