HR Management & Compliance

Congressman Introduces COBRA Subsidy Extension Legislation

Update Dec. 21, 2009: President signs bill including COBRA subsidy extension

Representative Joe Sestak (D-Pennsylvania) introduced the Extended COBRA Continuation Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 3930) this week in the U.S. House of Representatives. The proposed bill would extend the original federal COBRA subsidy created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which President Barack Obama signed into law in February.

Under ARRA, the federal government pays 65% of COBRA premiums for up to nine months for employees who were involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009. This subsidy is set to expire at the end of this year, and the subsidy will end in November for individuals who have been receiving it since March.

According to Sestak, the new subsidy would extend:

  • the total allowable time an individual could receive the COBRA subsidy by six months (from nine to 15 months);
  • the subsidy to individuals who are involuntarily terminated between January 1, 2010, and June 30, 2010; and
  • eligibility for traditional COBRA coverage an additional six months (from 18 to 24 months) for individuals who were terminated at the beginning of the recession in 2008.

Under the proposed legislation, individuals who were enrolled in the original COBRA subsidy since February would continue to receive it until at least May 2010.

Since the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the high unemployment statistics for September, there has been a lot of speculation that Congress will extend the COBRA subsidy benefit. More specifically, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has noted that Obama would look into whether the subsidy should be extended, and Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives also indicated they would consider an extension of the subsidy.


Also, you can keep up with the latest legal changes affecting employer benefits and trends in employee benefits with the Benefits Complete Compliance

114 thoughts on “Congressman Introduces COBRA Subsidy Extension Legislation”

  1. I sure hope the subsidies will be extended, with the high umemployment rate and families like mine trying make ends meet, and we need keep our healthcare. This is a very important measure, and needs to be extended.

  2. My family has to depend on the extension of the subidy, otherwise we would be uninsured and unable to pay for the life-saving medicines we need. This is a crucial measure for those of us who have been looking hard for work/with benefits and have not found anything yet.

  3. My family really need this extension, since I cannot qualify with my pre-existing condition. Our insurance coverage goes from $400 to $1200 per MONTH.

    Please members of Congress, past this legislation.

  4. This subsidy has been a life saver for my family, and I lose it at the end of November, raising my COBRA costs from $85 to $1300 monthly.

    My choice then becomes one of deciding on Mac & Cheese daily for dinner, or eliminating health car for my family. The latter would be a greater strain on the economic system, as all taxpayers would then be covering my FULL healthcare costs…

    Mr. Obama, ladies and gentlemen in the house and senate (servants of the people I might add), we NEED this extension. The costs may be great, but will be far less than the $11 billion we spend in Iraq and Afghanistan each and every month….

  5. I recently received notification that my job will be eliminated on 12/30/2009. Even though my 60-day notification comes to an end in 2009, thus qualifying me for the subsidy, the company told me that I don’t qualify for the cobra subsidy since cobra doesn’t officially start until Jan 1 of 2010. I have four small kids that require much in the way of medical costs. If the subsidy extension isn’t passed, I will be in big trouble. My cobra costs will be close to $1,600 per month.

    Just as an aside, when companies layoff workers in bulk, they usually try to time it so that the mandatory 60-day notification period ends in time for them to realize a full quarter’s savings in their financial statements. So many times, mass layoffs will be announced in Jan, Apr, Jul, and October. If this is true, it would be helpful to account for this reality somewhere in the wording of the Act. Please pass this extension. Thank You.

  6. Slogging thru the land of no jobs and an outsourced industry this benefit reduced job loss related stress by 95%, enabling me to be a stronger, healthier job seeker.

  7. As it is, even with the ARRA subsidy, I can barely make it from month-to-month to pay for rent and food. I have no idea where I’ll come up with the additional $300 for my COBRA. I’m healthy and rarely go to the doctor, but I’d like to keep the coverage in case something happens. If I can’t afford to pay for COBRA and there’s a gap in coverage, HIPPA will prevent coverage for any preexisting condition and I’ll be left to settle for catastrophic insurance. I’d like to see how our Congressmen would be able to live under the stresses that many of us suffer. They have wonderful medical coverage and don’t have to worry about a thing. I really think that they take a kind of “Let them eat cake” attitude toward us while throwing billions of dollars at the very banks that are charging us astronomical finance charges on the credit cards we use to survive.

  8. The COBRA federal subsidy has been a life saver for us. I’ve been without work since January and this is the only way my family can afford health insurance. My COBRA without the subsidy would be $1900 per month!!!

  9. Sir,

    There are those of us who are considered seniors but not old enough to qualify for Medicare. We are also having problems finding employment, with benefits, because we are “too old.” This subsidy has been a godsend to my wife and I, in that without it, we would not have healthcare. Pls extend this lifesaving subsidy and pls extend COBRA as well from 18 to 24 months. Thank You

  10. You can add another 117 lost jobs to the the list. I work at a plant in Cleveland,Ohio for 32 years. The 60 day notice for entire plant shutdown was announced on October 23rd. Employees will be dismissed Dec.23rd through March 31st. Without a Cobra assistance extension I will be paying $1100.oo a month for my Family of four. There will be no recovery without this assisstance as consumer spending will cease to exist. Please pass HR Bill 3930. It is a must or bust

  11. I agree that this subsidy needs to be extended. At 57 years old I am finding employers unwilling to hire older workers and having the cost of unsubsidized COBRA premiums triple will put health insurance out of my price range. Please find a way to keep this coverage affordable.

  12. Please, please, please pass this quickly. I have been out of work for almost 9 months now with no prospects in sight. I need my health insurance for my family. My payment would go from $339 a month to a whopping $1,028 a month. That’s more than half of my unemployment for the entire month!

    Thank you!

  13. I echo the sentiments of all my fellow unemployed workers who are barely able to survive with the COBRA subsidy. My premium for my family will go to $1700 without the subsidy and my unemployment monthly benefit is around $1900. There needs to be a way for us to band together and lobby Congress and the White House for this extension. Any ideas?

  14. @ Carolyn: The easiest way is to call the offices of your senators and congressmen (women).. You can even take the step of calling the White House so the President understands the urgency of quick passage. I have done all the above.. Will my call help? Maybe not.. But the calls of thousands.. No HUNDREDS of thousands of their constituents WILL be heard… HR3930 needs to be voted upon, passed and signed into law right away.

  15. I empathize with all unemployed 55+ workers who paid into social security and other taxes, having a consistent 37 year history of lucrative employment, having applied for over 400 jobs and having 0 interviews to show for it in the past seven months! Besides not being able to convince NJ courts for the third time in seven months that my child support needs to be decreased, and having my petitions falling on deaf ears because I am not unemployed (poor) long enough, I now face the prospect of $1200 insurance costs per month after December. Not to mention the sudden appearance of hypertension and the effects of aging that are rapidly approaching, I need health insurance now more than ever in my life! Were it not for my hope in God beyond these circumstances, I cannot fathom being able to sustain a sound mind!

  16. unemployed aince 2/09. cobra subsidy runs out this month.Ins goes from $250 to $750/mo. hopeless if HR3930 does not become law by dec.

  17. Just Saw Obama on tv talking about UI insurance and home byer extension.
    I did not hear a thing about COBRA extension.
    Does anyone know the status. Dec is just around the corner and I am afraid that I and a whole lot of Americans will not be able to afford it.
    Going from $285 to $826 for only one is a SIN

  18. I am single & I can’t pay the normal Cobra payments. I lost my job after 18 years of service and now I am about to be without insurance. I also need life saving medicine that I will also no longer be able to afford but “make to much” with a temporary (cut in pay) job for assistance. PLEASE pass this right away so I can keep taking my medicine and eat everyday.

  19. Senators introduced another bill to extend the COBRA subsidy in the U.S. Senate yesterday. Human Resources News will be posting details about the new legislation later this afternoon.

  20. I am crossing my fingers for this extension. My husband has found a job, for that I am grateful. Unfortunately he was told it would go permanent w/in a few months and we thought we’d only need this for that time….he has yet to be made perm and his job may be ending all together now! We have 4 small children & our current payment would go up around $1000/mos. We are currently spending retirement savings just to make ends meet! Please pass this for all those who are in need!! We are working SO hard to get back on our feet again. This would be a big hit for us if the subsidy is taken away.

  21. Please extend this COBRA subsidy. I will be eligible for COBRA on January 15, 2010 and miss the opportunity by 2 weeks. I cannot afford the rates to continue my health insurance without this subsidy. Please do this for all jobless Americans immediately!!

  22. This subsidy has been a true blessing for my family. We are both 58 years and truly need the additional help. I truly thank God that President Obama has a heart for the Lord and His people. Thank you God for this man being in position to help people like us. Even if the extension is not passed, this subsidy has truly been a blessing for my family for the last nine months. Thank you God and the Democrats and that made it possible.

  23. I have prayed each day that either the HealthCare bills would pass or the subsidy could be extended. I lost my job after 24 years with a company, and without the subsidy my Cobra payment would be over $1000 per month. My husband is 57 and worked all of his life as a self employed plumber until he had vascular issues causing him to be able to walk long distances (or more recently even short ones), unable to stoop, kneel, etc. However, he does not qualify for Soc. Security! So the burden is on me to work and keep the insurance. His medical bills would be tremendous without insurance, but I now work at job that pays 1/3 of what I used to make and there are no health benefts. Please pass this bill!

  24. If I had to pay the full COBRA amount my payment would be $1480, currently it is $483 which is pretty steep on unemployment. I am 56 yrs old and lost my job after 32 yrs. I need this insurance for my family. PLEASE PASS THIS BILL!!!

  25. Mine is yet another similar story. Lost my job last Dec. Insurance will go from about $150 to $500. Yet I’m single with no family so I don’t have it near as bad as most – though it makes me sick that even families have to pay upwards of $1600+ for insurance!!! Even if you ARE employed – something is way wrong here!
    Now I’m the last person that wants to see health care run by our government – but SOMETHING has got to be done. C’mon Republicans! I know you are busy fighting this Obama health care mess, but geez! Maybe come up with a real solution instead of looking like you’re just standing in the way! At least the Dems are working on something – even if it is horribly wrong.

  26. Without the extension of the COBRA subsidy, I will go from $166.00 to $480.00 p/month as a single person. I have been unemployed for over 9 months and as many, being almost 56 years old, it has been very difficult to find employement. If this extension is not passed, I won’t be able to afford the full insurance, which is almost half of my unemployement check. And, because I have a preexisting condition, NO insurance company will accept me! PLEASE extend the COBRA subsidy!!!

  27. With less than half of the stimulus (spending) bill money distributed it sure seems like the resources are there to extend this. Mine is going from $550 to $1,530 next month so I may be uninsured as well.

    You may want to check Health Plan Services, they insure even with pre-existing conditions and they’ve given me a quote of $495 a month with a $125 start-up fee.

    Note to Mike: The republicans HAVE come up with ideas just to be slapped by the speaker of the house who is doing the great ones dirty work.

  28. Please Mr. President, Congressmen and Senators-extend Cobra subsidy benefits, my health depends on it. You all have good jobs and health care, you do not have any idea what it is like for us that are in need of this extension. PLEASE put your partison bickering aside and help us out, thanks.
    R. Amos

  29. I strongly encourage the Congress to pass this bill and am grateful it is being put forward. It has been a Godsend for my family over the past 8 months. In addition, however, would it be possible to have it start on December 1st? January 1st leaves many of us with no insurance for one month. I am presently in the process of finding new insurance for December.

    Jane S.

  30. Let me echo what has been said by the prior commentors. I will lose the subsidy for Cobra premiums at the end of November. Payments will go to $572 a month. I would like to see the Cobra premium subsidy extended for myself and most importantly for people with children. Without it, there will be many people with no health insurance.

    Please,get it together and pass the Cobra premium subsidy.

  31. Please Obama don’t forget this bill. I just received my bill for Cobra for December and it is going to cost $1,500 a month. My family of four will be uninsured. We need the subsidized extension – it has been a blessing to my family and I am still unable to find a job. With the holidays around the corner a job is looking bleak. I don’t know what we will do. Paying the $550 has been very difficult but we have managed and there is no way we can pay the $1,500. Please help! I know you are looking at the future but we need insurance now. Thank you for all you do!!!

  32. I am in the same situation. Please pass this quickly. Foreclosures and bankruptcies will go sky high if this is not passed. This needs to come first then do health care. Thank You!

  33. @ Jane: If passed, it is very likely that it would be done on a retroactive basis.. You may need to put out the full premium for December, but would receive credits equal to the “overpayment” in subsequent months.

    I have been in contact with my Senators local office on a daily basis so he knows that it is important to his constituents.. We ALL need to pick up the phone.. Once the bill is released from committee(s) it needs to be met with an overwhelming YES vote…



  34. Without this extension Iwill not be able to afford health insurance for myself. I need to have a major surgey and they are trying to get it in by the end of this month but I wont know about any complication from it. I am very health and never use my insurance and now I need it for the first time and wont have it.

    Please help us all!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. We cannot afford to have all these people out of work also out of insurance coverage. This is what will happen if the extension is not allowed. An unemployed person cannot find a job right now much less afford the huge cobra insurance payment increase. Ours goes to $1050 in December. I’m not sure what we’re going to do. Also my wife is a cancer survivor and is effectively uninsurable when Cobra runs out. This coverage needs to be extended.

  36. I am very thankful for this subsidy and hope that it will be extended. My husband has been unemployed since June, and the subsidy has made it possible for us to afford his health insurance. Without the subsidy, he may have to go without health insurance.

  37. The Cobra subsidy has been an absolute lifesaver for myself and my family. With the subsidy, I am paying close to $500 for my family of four. Without the subsidy, our monthly payment will be close to $1500 a month. Quite honestly, I never thought I would be out of work this long. I was laid-off in April, 2009, due to economic downturn, from a position I held for nearly 12 years. I am hoping with all my heart that this subsidy can and will be extended. The thought of not being able to afford health care for my family is enough to make me ill. Please see the significance of this bill. The unemployment numbers are staggering – if the unemployed and their families go without insurance, it will be a tragedy.

  38. Please pass this bill. My wife and I have been unemployed since the inception of the subsidy. I couldnt afford from 600 to over 1700 a month.. Please help. I just got my bill without the subisidy for the month of December. I would sleep better knowing someone truly wants to help.

  39. We are in the same situation as PM stated, seniors, but too young for medicare. No job for this age group.The cobra subsidy has been a lifesaver. Without this, we will have to drop our coverage and go on public welfare roles, something we have never done in our lifetimes. Read thru the yes and extend the cobra eligibilty and subsidy for 24 months. In the long run, this will save money as we will at least be paying our 35% share instead of taking 100% from public assistance!

  40. I fairly was terminated from my job due to long-term, significant disability. Without extension at 1/1/2010, I don’t know how I’ll pay the full COBRA premium, on top of other medical bills. I’ll still be on disability, and couldn’t look for a job if I wanted to. PLEASE extend this important subsidy! And thank you to representative Sestak for authoring the bill.

  41. I have been layed off since mid-may 2009 and have used 6 of the 9 months of the cobra government subsidized health care. I was employed 32 years in the planning dept at the same company before being let go. The subsidy has been a blessing since I can’t find a job that pays even as much as single unemployment wages. Thats the saddest part. I am 50 years old and I feel like a leper looking for a job. Most companys take your application, but I have a feeling here in Illinois most just go in the wastebasket.

  42. Without the subsidy extension, my family’s COBRA costs are $1459 per month through the end of 2009. With the subsidy, we are paying $511.

    Beginning in January 2010, the full cost will be $1730. There is absolutely NO WAY that we can pay this. My husband has a serious medical condition requiring ongoing care (including a treatment every 2-3 months that costs $1200), so no other insurance company will accept us. Right now we are living only on his disability since I lost my job and have had no offers in the brutal job market.

    We are in our 50s and have exhausted our retirement accounts and every other resource we have to pay for health insurance.

    PLEASE, PLEASE lawmakers…hear the people who have spoken here and extend this subsidy.

  43. First, I thank Joe Sestak for stepping up to fill a critical need for the many people on COBRA. It IS expensive. I am wondering whether this extension will be enacted in time to avoid the $700/month increase in my COBRA payment come Dec. Otherwise, it will be necessary for me to shop for catastrophic insurance only for my husband and I so we at least have something. We are all in the same boat. Write directly to your lawmakers to get the extension passed.

  44. I pray that the extension will be passed. Both myself and my husband have been laid off and we would not be able to afford the full Cobra amount by any stretch of the imagination (or budget). That means no coverage for our son either.

  45. I actually feel better knowing that there are so many others in my exact situation. I know there is power in numbers. I calle dmy congressman today, Mike Honda of california and some young man answered and had never heard of this bill. That was heart-warming. Then he told me to send an email and the congressman would read it and respond. Right! Within a few hours I get this lame from letter not even addressing my question. Whis is: When will thing get voted on? Does anyone know?

  46. This extension can be paid for by re-claiming the ill-gotten bonuses from the bankers and Rating agencies from the past ten years.. They obtained hundreds of billions in bonuses for fraudulent earnings.

    Ex-wallstreeter who knows,
    Lee S.

  47. wow I thought we were the only ones in this situation.I sure hope this passes soon,as nov. 30 is right around the corner.We all need health ins. and I’m with eveyone when they say we can’t afford the full cobra payment.we are not asking for a hand out,just a little help.Prayer works in numbers lets do it!!!!!!!!

  48. I too hear and share the pain expressed by my fellow Americans here!

    Extending the COBRA subsidy makes perfect sense and will provide very tangible and directed relief to those perhaps impacted most severely by this historic economic crisis; i.e. families with children!

    Hopefully the bill in question will become law sooner than later!

  49. Please Congress put this extention through, I have been an insulin dependent diabetic for 28 years and can’t afford not to have coverage. Years back one vial of insulin was $89 but I’m sure it’s much higher than that now. I use an insulin pump and there is NO WAY I could afford any supplies extremely expensive. So please extend the coverage.

  50. What’s it going to take. This is as important as creating new jobs Mr. Obama! How about a little action and a little less lip service!

  51. I just dont get it. Health care will take four years to implement, if passed, still no Cobra extension and Politicians, playing games with every family who is in dire need of health insuance coverage. And by the way keep telling us the recession is over.

  52. My husband lost his job February 2009 and has been unable to fine another or even granted an interview – we are 62 and don’t quality for medicare. We both have medical issues that require medication. If this extension is too long coming we will not be able to continue paying for cobra and will be unable to buy our prescriptions. Adding yet another average american family to the large group of the uninsured…why is this taking so long?

  53. I thought there were only a few of us losing healthcare in December but was wrong. I worked my entire life since I was 15. I was laid off in March this year and will lose health coverage next month. I cannot believe we are all so close to losing everything we’ve worked for our entire lives.

    Passing HR3930 will be a life saver for many. Thank goodness that we have a democratic majority. The right thing will be done. Just keep praying all. Change is finally happening.

  54. The Cobra subsidy is a livesaver for unemployed people. I’ve been unemployed since March 2009 and absolutely cannot afford the cobra coverage that will increase to $500 in January 2010. Being diagnosed with dystonia I cannot lose my coverage. Congress please help pass this cobra extension.

  55. Obama and the Democratic-controlled congress must realize that the programs to reduce unemployment have not yet been effective, hence they must extend the Cobra subsidy. My monthly medical charges would be $2,200 as opposed to $740. My wife and I would be without insurance without the subsidy.

  56. Cobra subsidy has been a blessing. Unemployed since Jan. 2009, I can’t afford the full premium and pay the rent. Have to be keep taking medications every day and no health insurance company would insure me because of preexisting condition. I hope HR3930 will pass very soon, looking for a job is stressful enough.

  57. I echo that the subsidy has been a blessing as I have been unemployed since 9/2008, applied for over 200 jobs with nothing coming to fruition. I have been living off of life savings that is running out and down to less than $5000 cash flow. I had to withdraw 401k dollars and am currently making monthly payments in the amt of $600 to the govt for 2008 federal taxes on the withdrawl and penalties (which by the way we’ve seen nothing indicating we will be given a break on that aspect). I am a single parent of 2 and head of household so…..tough times and I’m getting worried and hope for a job soon!

  58. Cobra Subsidy has been such a financial help. My payment now on Dec. 1st goes from 500 to 1600 thats another 1000 that I dont know how I am going to pay. Its definitely going to be a sad christmas at my house if this doesnt get passed quicky. I am probably just getting into bigger debt using credit cards to make ends meet. We need this extension terribly. I have been unemployed since 2/2009 and nothing. I probably will have to take out from my 401k to pay for Cobra. PLEASE PLEASE pass this quickly..

  59. There’s many of us in the same boat & the boat is sinking fast! My husband lost his job in Feb. Thank heaven for the subsidy, but if not extended, we will have to pay almost $1200.00 for the 2 of us instead of the $325.00 we’re paying now. He recently worked 4 days at a job with “insurance” that paid a max of $600.00 per YEAR for meds – my MONTHLY meds are $800.00-$900.00; max of $500.00 per day if hospitalized; Under dental – would pay $77.00 on a crown, etc. Oh yeah…you had to pay almost $400.00 per month for the ‘privilege’ of having this “insurance.” Because they knew he was going to continue looking for another job, they let him go and now unemployment has denied his benefits! We, the taxpayers, who have paid into various programs for all these years (almost 40 for us) can’t get a little temporary help when we need it, but the taxes we will have to pay on unemployment will continue to provide for those that are too lazy to work! Definitely something wrong with this picture!! Why are we expected to become practically destitute?

  60. I am hopeful the cobra subsidy will be extended! Both me and my son are on Cobra now. He is a student in College and I hope to gain full time employment with benefits soon, however it would not be affordable to us if we were responsible for the entire 100%. Please pass quickly!

  61. This should be a no-brainer for a legislation that is supposedly “so concerned” about health care in America. It would be a blatant hypocrisy if they don’t extend it. Let’s not forget about the people have worked (and try to find work) for their benefits than just those that never have. What about the dual income families where the one person that was actually provided with benefits lost their job and have none even though the other one is still working without benefits. We are getting closer to the subsidy ending and still no decision has been made. Not knowing could take our time from looking for a job to looking for insurance, for no good reason (based on it hopefully being extended). To take money from our unemployment for food and shelter to pay for worse coverage defeats the purpose of getting unemployment. Worse, paying even more since you don’t get coverage until a deductible is met. Also, let’s not forget about those that have the coverage and don’t even use it. It’s a high cost for false peace of mind. S*$% or get off the pot already and focus on USA NOW.

  62. Independent insurance rates are more if you are uninsured at the time you apply than if you are insured. Also, it takes 2 weeks to get approved.

    We have less then one week to make a decision and we still have no definite answer one way or the other for the COBRA Subsidy to be extended or not. Not knowing either way causes us to be in a holding pattern.

  63. I can understand if you need the subsidy because you are sick and cannot work- then you should get an extension; but not if you are completely able, have had 9 months to find work and still have not “found anything”. Stop being so picky about jobs, or even where to live. Go and get some worthwhile skills and knowledge that will make you marketable. There is no *recession*… at least not yet.

  64. In response to EndlessGrowth…
    Generally, if you are sick and cannot work, that is called disabled and most receive disability payments and are covered by Medicare. I don’t know where you live, but please let me know since jobs must be plentiful there! In my area, people are willing to do any type of work, but there are very few open positions. When my husband lost his job, we never dreamt it would take so long to find another. He worked in a skilled trade, but has applied for janitorial to skilled and would be happy to do anything, even if the pay is low, but we have to have decent insurance!! Ironically enough, I am employed in the medical field – but my employer does not offer health insurance. A low paying job with “insurance” that pays a max of $600.00 per YEAR for meds ‘just ain’t gonna cut it’ when MONTHLY med cost is over $800.00. One medical situation could wipe out everything we’ve worked 38+ years for, then we’d be ‘damned’ for not saving for our retirement and the taxpayers would have to provide for us for the rest of our lives. We’ve accepted the fact that we will undoubtedly never be able to retire, but we’d at least like to be able to live rather than barely exist. I, for one, would prefer to help those that need temporary help rather than the ones that sit with outstretched hands taking…taking…taking and giving back nothing in return – with the exception perhaps of more children for us to provide for!

  65. Please pass legislation to approve the Cobra extension. I have been working part-time and am making $13,000 a year instead of the $48,000 I was making prior to getting laid off. Seasonal and part-time jobs do not offer health insurance (usually). Without our health, what do we really have?

  66. I have been unemployed after 12 years from a highly technical, skilled thinking management job since January, 2009. Another person who was also laid off in November 2008 from the same firm, and I have formed a consulting firm. My wife also is unemployed. The business that we are trained and skilled for (Architecture) is being hit especially hard by this recession, since there is no construction and nothing being planned. Our firm is struggling and it is very hard work to try to get minimally by. Both my business partner and my health insurance costs would increase from $511 to almost $1500 per month for family coverage. My wife and I have pre-existing conditions and are essentially uninsurable, and also age 60. Our teenage son has developed a totally unexpected debilitating illness where without insurance, just his medications cost $1000 per month. With insurance, we are still paying a total of about $250 per month for all of our medications combined.
    PLEASE pass this legislation not only for our family, but also for every other unemployed person and family out there. This original ARRA COBRA extension has been a lifesaver, and even though it is very difficult to make the reduced payments for insurance, we have been able to manage doing so.
    Without the COBRA extension, my son would most likely be close to death without his medications. PLEASE PASS THIS LEGISLATION NOW!!!!


  68. Are the Congress and the President going to help us or not? We need this extension ASAP. Our time is running out, and my family and I cannot afford to pay $1200 per month for health insurance starting December 1, 2009. $400 is already a stretch but is much more feasible for us than $1200 per month. Please DO SOMTHING NOW if you are humans.

  69. To Jeff that replied to me on 11-09 at 6:59 PM:
    Thank you for your reply and info on Health Plan Services; althought I have to tell you that I contacted them and they won’t accept me with my preexisting condition! As of December 1,2009 I will be without insurance, since the extension hasn’t passed yet and I can’t afford $480 a month! I have called and written to Congressman and anyone that will hear me out and they are saying the bill is pending! To everyone here, PLEASE call your Congressman and keep on it until someone does something. One person might not be able to do much, but if every single person that posted a message on this board calls, it will sure help!!

  70. I even called and wrote to the White House!
    No, I didn’t get to speak to President Obama but someone took my info and I received an email response to my message.
    PLEASE call, write and keep calling and writing. ALL of us together can do something!!

  71. I have been on 65% Cobra since September 2009 and from what I understand if this is not extended I will receive nothing in January 2010 leaving my 65% Cobra not at 9 months but 4 months. This economy is not the time to chop the support for people in my situation. Help me and my family. The not knowing is killing me. God will care for me but sometimes He doesn’t want to give me his undivided attention.

  72. It’s imperative that Congress act to extend the Cobra subsidy. Paying +$1,400 monthly for health insurance without the subsidy will force us into bankrupsty. The government must act.

  73. Congress hopefully will do the right thing here and help all these family’s in need. We can only afford so much in today’s economey and extending Cobra would be the best thing to happen, while showing compassion for the many Americans who do need this INSURANCE EXTENSION.

  74. Please pass extention on COBRA premiums. I pay $509 mthly and will go up to $1,500 in Jan 2010. I can’t afford that being on SSD for the time being. Surgery complications have disabled me and need medical care until health improves. I’m on oxygen 24/7 and what will I do with no insurance? Don’t qualify for other programs. Please help those that need help. I’m not asking for subsidy money to pay me a bonus, just enough to keep me alive with medical insurance until I can get back to work. Please consider my situation with so many other desperate Americans. Some don’t know what it’s like because they’ve never been here in our shoes. PLEASE!

  75. I just read all the above comments and was BLOWN AWAY because I thought we were such a small minority that no one was going to listen to us. I have emailed my congressional reps and all I get back are canned replies that have nothing to do with this issue. How do you get to live person? Are there any LIVE PERSONS working in our government offices? Of course, they all have the health coverage that we can only dream about……

  76. My wife had a bone mirrow transplant on December 2008. My wife doesn’t have any insurance. She depends on my insurance. Last year on November 29, 2009 the closed down the company I was working. We depend on cobra premiums because we didn’t qualify for other programs. My son (21 years old) and me need my wife alive So, please pass the extension on COBRA premiums. I’m still looking for employment and I hope I can find a job soon…

  77. I was laid off from my job in March 2009 and have been unable to secure new employment despite my intense efforts to find a job. My husband is ill and receives social secuity, but he is not 65 years old, so he is currently paying $650 in monthly premiums for an individual plan. With our meager income (SS and unemployment) we are barely managing to pay our bills. The COBRA/ARRA subsidy has been the only way I have been able to keep my medical coverage. My subsidy expires this month, December. I simply cannot afford to pay a full COBRA premium which would be in excess of $600 per month. I sincerely hope and pray that Congress will extend the subsidy.

  78. Chronically ill wife, daughter aged 17, and my COBRA will be increasing to 1710.00 per month. PLEASE approve the extension of benefits.

  79. There is no such thing as reasonable health insurance for those folks over 60 and under 65. The insurance companies will find something wrong with you to disqualify you from coverage. One year ago I tried to get private health insurance when the company I was working for closed, so there was no Cobra. We were turned down by every insurer, even with high deductible catastrophic coverage. I carried my husband on my insurance until I lost another job last March, so we have a double premium. The subsidy has been a godsend. Hopefully it will be extended. Its a shame when you have to spend as much time trying to find health insurance as trying to find a job!

  80. The subsidy has been a godsend. Losing my job was devastating enough, but having chronic medical conditions myself as well as my daughter having a chronic medical condition.. I could not afford our health insurance and could not afford our medication without it. The subsidy has enabled us to stay healthy. Without my medication I would end up in the hospital, and how do you stay in the hospital with out insurance? It is terrifying. I pray that the extension is approved.

  81. I cannot afford to continue with COBRA if the subsidy is not extended. Our monthly cost will go to $1600/mo…..I cannot get a private policy because of a pre existing condition. Please approve the subsidy continuation, or we will be without health insurance. At 63 I am between a rock and a hard wall…please approve the extension immediatly

  82. I am sick with grief in this economy being out of work for well over a year!!! Please, please please don’t let us with pre-existing life dependent medications or not, be stuck without the ability to keep the necessary COBRA benefits for our physical well being…we need to believe that Congress will do the right thing for those of us who have no other resources to depend on and sustain our health and stand tall in these current horrific times! All we can do is believe and have faith which is in your hands…please don’t disappoint us..have a heart!! We are here on earth to love one another and help our fellow Americans

  83. I sure do need this to be approved I have s/s disability but can’t get medicare for 2 years I can’t afford to my the full price for corba please help

  84. I pray that the Cobra Extension is enacted. My husband lost his job after almost 40 years at the same company. I am self employed so we depended on his benefits from work. No one wants to insure people 60 and older so they make the premiums outrageous and you can forget it if you have a pre existing condition even though we have never been hospitalized for either of our conditions. The $1300 per month is just too much along with the copays and deductibles. Maybe the reason it hasn’t made it out of committee is that those who will vote against it don’t want the public to know how they stand in regards to those that aren’t wealthy.

  85. I think that it is deplorable that the COBRA extension bill has come to this point. It is very difficult to even find out information about where it is as of today. I agree with Linda (previous post) the politicians that we have voted in office should hang there heads in shame. They want to be non-committal, and just cannot have the label that they are for the people that really need help in this country. Get this bill passed now! There is no debate to be had on this issue!!!!!

  86. The Cobra extension is critical to so many. I am 62, lost job almost a year ago and can’t find another FT with benefits. I can’t afford full price Cobra and don’t know what I’ll do when my 9 mo Cobra runs out Dec 31.

  87. Everyone should write to their Senators, Congressmen and the President about this TODAY. Write to the Congressman who proposed the bill. Write letters, make phone calls, make yourself heard.

  88. I agree with Charlie. There is no stinking debate about this situation. These so called “Kings” that we, the public, vote in and , dare I use the word “TRUST”, to take care of the people who voted them into office!!!!!! The congress and house make sure that themselves and their families have health coverage! I’ve been a sub-contractor of the government for as long as I can remember. Also on disability for the past 1 1/2 yrs. Very serious back/spine problems. Now comes the time when we all need the helping hand and they dangle it in front of our faces like the carrot for the mule!!!!THIS NEEDS TO BE PASSED YESTERDAY!!!!!!! The only thing holding this up are the greedy crooks that are in these powerful positions.

  89. I am going on a year of being without a job (and I’ve been working since I was 15), and dealing with very huge COBRA payments to cover both my significant other and I; while I had a generous severance package, there is no way that I will able to keep up my COBRA payments, which pretty much add up to a second mortgage payment, and my mortgage, normal costs of living, etc. I am actively (every week!!) looking for employment but am being financially buried by health insurance, yet I dare not discontinue it…please extend the subsidy!! At least for a few months more ! thanks, Terri

  90. I am currently on blue shield cal-cobra and the subsidy has been the only way I could afford health insurance. Because I have a pre-existing condition, I am not eligible for an individual plan, the only choice is guaranteed issue from the my former employer’s group policy. The premium as of Jan. 1 without the subsidy will be $1,849/month which is cost-prohibitive. I can’t go without health insurance, but this is crazy, it will bankrupt me even if I could afford it. The other bad thing is cal-cobra is 36 months and I’ve been told by all carriers that you can’t change until you’ve exhausted cobra. My former employer added a less expensive plan with limited benefits for me, but unfortunately one can’t apply for it until open enrollment in September (the premium is $1,050/mo.). So I’m in a rock and a hard place. I’m not old enough for Medicare and not eligible for medical.

  91. Just received an email from Joe Sestak’s office.. HR3930 did indeed pass as part of a larger appropriations bill. It still needs to clear the Senate, and get signed into law…

    Thank you Joe Sestak!!!

  92. Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!!!!

    Bless you Joe Sestak and all members of Congress and the Senate for not turning your backs on us.
    Could you please do one more thing for us? Could you please mandate that those fat cats on Wall Street that caused the decline of our economy through sheer greed be laid off as well so they too can struggle and bleed a little along with the rest of us? That would make us feel even better for all our losses and struggles.

    But since you won’t do that at least you were kind enough to extend us a life line for another 6 months. THANKS YOU

  93. I lost my job in August 2009. We are paying 400.00 a month with the subsidy (still very high) without any pay. The payment will go up to 1200.00 in May. I have a medical issue and require infusions twice a year I need this insurance. We cannot afford this payment since we are both out of work. We are struggling just to hold onto our home. We thank you so much for this lifeline and hope that you can continue to help those in need by extending a hand to us and our families.

  94. I also receive the Cobra subsidy and have just priced an individual plan for our family. Everyone in the family can go on our new individual plan except my newborn.
    I have a newborn at home who needs surgery within the year so of course he has been excluded from our individual plan because of his preexisting condition. What do you do when you can’t afford cobra without the subsidy???

  95. To Kim,

    The COBRA subsidy has been extended for another 6 months!! just approved this week!!
    Good luck with your newborn!!

  96. Many thanks to Rep. Sestak for introducing and husbanding this bill, which the Senate passed this morning! It was sorely needed!

    I do wish, however, that someone would have had the foresight to FREEZE INSURANCE PREMIUMS while Congress was engaged in all the hullabaloo about health care. In the absence of a freeze, our premium increased 35% !! Without the COBRA extension we would be looking at a cost of $30,000 next year (including the $6,000 out-of-pocket maximum, which we always reach just for meds alone) for blueshield PPO coverage!! Yes, you read that correctly, THIRTY-FIVE PERCENT!! This has been a very good policy, but I cannot stress enough how egregious this increase is. This cannot be good for employees or their employers. How do we keep up with this? Wages will not increase to keep up with it. For someone who loses his job, maybe even due to increased health insurance costs to his employer, the cost of COBRA could take all of his unemployment check plus 20-100% more! How is this even possible?? The COBRA subsidy extension is a huge help, no question, but it may only be a slight delay in the workforce’s inexorable slide into poverty, homelessness, and death. Here are the “death panels”, people, and their tactic is ATTRITION! Wake up to this! Demand the return of government “for the people”!

  97. Is there any place that we can see that this was passed for the additional 6 months? I really need this extension which I have been on since May 2009. Not to mention I can not afford the full premium, I can not get any other coverage because I have Cerebral Palsy and it falls into pre-existing. I think that is just wrong since I haven’t had a claim for the CP in over 20 years! I have worked for over 38 years.


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