Stimulus Money for Laid-Off Workers' Health Insurance Costs

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Right now if you lose your job you can buy COBRA health insurance. That’s the program that lets laid-off workers extend their health benefits. In California that could be about $1,000 a month for a family of four. But, under the stimulus package the federal government could cover 65 percent of those costs. However, small business employees aren’t automatically included…that’s where the new state measure comes in. Republican Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher is a co-author of the bill.

“This bill will help those employees of small business who have recently lost their jobs by providing some assistance, some stability in keeping their health care, in keeping their existing doctor, their existing prescriptions, that they had and still need.” 
Fletcher says the bill tweaks California law to qualify small business employees for the subsidy. Roughly 200,000 people could enroll in the so-called “Cal-COBRA” program. It lasts up to nine months – those laid off after September 1st can apply.