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COBRA Subsidy Eligibility Expires: eHealthInsurance Answers Questions

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(March 2, 2010) - Eligibility for COBRA health insurance subsidy ended on March 1, 2010. Today, eHealthInsurance.com (NASDAQ: EHTH), released an updated list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for Americans receiving the subsidy who are unsure about how the subsidy's expiration impacts their health coverage.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) included a 65 percent subsidy designed to help cover the cost of COBRA insurance premiums for up to 9 months. On December 21, 2009 the subsidy was extended in two ways:
  • The duration of the subsidy was extended from nine (9) months to fifteen (15) months.
  • The eligibility period was extended to include those who become eligible for COBRA due to a lay off on or before February 28, 2010.
Subsidy recipients or candidates can calculate their remaining time on the COBRA subsidy using eHealthInsurance's COBRA Subsidy Calendar Widget located in either of the following locations:
FAQs Regarding the Extended COBRA Subsidy:
Question: Now that the COBRA subsidy eligibility has expired, does that mean I'll stop receiving subsidies for COBRA?
Answer: No, the term "expiration" only refers to people who would become eligible for COBRA for the first time on or after March 1, 2010. If you're already receiving the COBRA subsidy, you'll continue to get your premium assistance for up to 15 month from your initial enrollment date, provided you continue to meet the eligibilty requirements for the subsidy.
Question: Will the subsidy be extended for people who become eligible for COBRA after March 1, 2010?
Answer: Efforts are under way to extend the subsidy. There are temporary one-month extensions being considered in the House of Representatives. And, the "jobs" legislation making its way through the US Senate includes a 10-month extension of the COBRA subsidy, which would allow employees laid off through the end of 2010 to access the 65 percent premium reduction for up to 15-months.
Question: My subsidy is set to run out in May 2010. What should I do if I don't have access to group coverage by then?
Answer: If you were among the first recipients to receive the COBRA subsidy, you should start to research your options and alternatives for health coverage right now.
Anyone who is relatively healthy and worried that they won't be able to afford non-subsidized COBRA premiums should be aware that it can take 2-4 weeks -- on average -- to get approved for private, non-group health insurance.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, your best option is to continue COBRA coverage. But, if you can't afford the unsubsidized COBRA premiums you'll need to check out other government-sponsored options available in your state. The Foundation for Health Coverage Education (FHCE) has an excellent web site and their U.S. Uninsured Help Line can connect you with publicly-funded programs in your state. Their web site is www.coverageforall.org and their toll-free number is 800-234-1317.
Additional Resources:
For more information about the COBRA subsidy and additional general COBRA FAQs, please see:
About eHealth, Inc.
eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) is the parent company of eHealthInsurance, the nation's leading online source of health insurance for individuals, families and small businesses. Through the company's website, http://www.eHealthInsurance.com, consumers can get quotes from leading health insurance carriers, compare plans side by side, and apply for and purchase health insurance. eHealthInsurance offers thousands of health plans underwritten by more than 180 of the nation's leading health insurance companies. eHealthInsurance is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, making it a functioning national health insurance exchange. Through its eCommerce On-Demand solution (eOD),www.ehealth.com/eOD, eHealth is also a leading provider of on-demand e-commerce software services. eHealth's eOD platform provides a suite of hosted solutions that enable health plan providers and resellers to market and distribute products online. eHealth's eCommerce On-Demand solution is currently available to health plan providers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. eHealthInsurance and eHealth are registered trademarks of eHealthInsurance Services, Inc.