COBRA Subsidy Eligibility Extended: eHealthInsurance Provides Update

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(March 4, 2010) - This week, eligibility for the COBRA health insurance subsidy was extended through March 31, 2010. Today, (NASDAQ: EHTH) released an updated list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for Americans receiving the subsidy who are concerned about the subsidy's expiration, extension, and how it impacted 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.
  • With this change, the 65% subsidy will end in June 2010 for anyone who became eligible for the subsidy between September 2008 and March 2009.
  • The eligibility period was extended to include those who become eligible for COBRA and the subsidy on or before February 28, 2010.
On March 3, 2010 eligibility for the subsidy was extended by Congress to include:
  • Anyone who becomes eligible for COBRA and the subsidy on or before March 31, 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 been extended, does that mean I'll receive an extra month of subsidies for COBRA?
Answer: No, the extension only refers to people who would become eligible for COBRA and the subsidy for the first time on or after March 1, 2010 and on or before March 31, 2010. If you're already receiving the COBRA subsidy, you'll continue to get your premium assistance for up to 15 months from your initial enrollment date, provided you continue to meet the eligibility requirements for the subsidy.
Question: My COBRA subsidy will end in June 2010. What should I do if I don't have access to group coverage by then?
Answer: If you were among the first recipients of the COBRA subsidy (September 2008 to March 2009), you should start to research COBRA alternatives for health coverage right away.
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 may be to continue COBRA coverage. But, if you can't afford the unsubsidized COBRA premiums and you cannot get approved for a private health insurance policy, investigate other government-sponsored options 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 and their toll-free number is 800-234-1317.

Question: Will the subsidy be extended beyond this latest March 31, 2010 deadline?
Answer: Efforts are under way to extend the eligibility for the subsidy beyond March 31, 2010. The Senate is also working on a larger bill -- the American Workers, State and Business Relief Act -- that would do several things including extend eligibility for COBRA benefits through the end of the year.
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,, 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),, 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.