COBRA Relief Could Save Laid-Off Workers Thousands

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That’s how much a laid-off worker might save, thanks to a federal subsidy covering COBRA health insurance premiums through September.

In 2019, the average annual cost of an employer-sponsored family health insurance plan was $20,599 (for employers of 20 or more people), according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. And thanks to a provision in the American Rescue Plan relief bill, this cost is 100% subsidized for six months—from April through September—for anyone who lost their job (rather than quit) and isn’t otherwise eligible for coverage.


While the temporary subsidy to COBRA, authorized by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, is available now, it’s not automatic, and employers have until May 31 to notify those who have been laid-off that they are eligible. The Department of Labor recently posted the online form required as well as additional guidance about how it works.