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Author Topic: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?  (Read 2504 times)

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Offline PeteNYNJ

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Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« on: November 28, 2009, 09:48:43 PM »
Hello All

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.

I have been out of work for about 10 months now and have been receiving Cobra benefits.  My monthly payment without the stimulus package subsidy is about $500.  For the last 9 month I have been paying about $175 a month.  This amount has been doable thanks to unemployment but now month 10 is here as so is my $500 payment.  It is a huge chunk out of my unemployment benefits.  I had heard through the grapevine that there is litigation pending to extend the Cobra Stimulus package.  I can't seem to find any info on this.   

Does anyone have any info on the extention or know anything about it?

Thanks
Pete

Offline Assurbanipal

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2009, 08:54:14 PM »
It would need new legislation -- there's been some talk of putting together a new stimulus package (to be called a jobs bill this time for political reasons) and that is where a COBRA subsidy extension would likely be put. 

See the last paragraph of the attached article from the NY Times  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/19/us/19unemploy.html?_r=1

But there doesn't seem to be much progress on a bill, so it would be a good idea to call your Congressman.
5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

Offline nyc_ev

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2009, 09:28:30 PM »
Hi Pete, I'm in the same boat and I just got a letter from the Cobra administrator:

Legislation has been proposed that would extend the subsidy beyond nine months.  If that occurs, the reduced rates will continue until the next plan renewal date or the next legislated expiration date.

You have two options:

1.  Remit the full COBRA premium for December.  If the ARRA subsidy is extended, we will apply the excess premium to your future COBRA payments.
2.  Carefully watch developments and remit your premium when and if the extension is approved.  COBRA premiums are due on the first day of the month. However, you can retain your COBRA eligibility as long as the total payment (whether the amount due is the subsidized amount or the full amount) is made during the month of December.  Per the regulations, payments made after the 30-day grace period will result in the loss of COBRA coverage with no option for reinstatement.

You can monitor developments on the Dept of Labor website ---  www.dol.gov/cobra


Fingers crossed Washington gets moving on this....and health care....

Hope this helps!
7/09 diagnosed HIV+
7/09 CD4 368,   VL 62,103,   CD4% 23%
9/09 CD4 459,   VL 260,000, CD4% 25%
10/09 started Atripla
12/09 CD4 557, VL 5,000,   CD4% 26%
2/10   CD4 592,    VL 84,    CD4% 26%
11/10 CD4 607,  VL UD
12/10 switched to Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline Inchlingblue

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2009, 05:08:19 PM »
Here's another update from the Times:

Steps to Take Before Cobra Subsidy Ends

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/12/health/12patient.html?_r=1&ref=health

Offline PeteNYNJ

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2009, 01:55:54 PM »
Thanks for the update...I am probably going to have to hock some stuff to make the December payment.  Oh well, it could be worse. 

Offline Boo Radley

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2009, 05:16:44 PM »
After losing my job in 2002 the state of Louisiana paid my COBRA until SSD/Medicare kicked in 18 (or was it 24?) months later.  The quite logical rationale is it's cheaper to pay COBRA than to have me on Medicaid.  I can't believe other states don't follow the same practice.   Louisiana is not known for its progressive policies.

The 9 month subsidy seems a half-assed compromise -- why bother to keep you alive for 9 months if you'll be SOL for another 9 until Medicare/Medicaid (does Medicaid have the same waiting time?) is available?  I hope the stimulus package is renewed and expanded. 

Good luck!

SOB
String up every aristocrat!
Out with the priests and let them live on their fat!





Everything I do, say, think, excrete, secrete, exude, ooze, or write © 2007 Sweet Old Boo, Inc.

Offline aztecan

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2009, 01:41:39 AM »
We have a program here that pays a person's COBRA premiums as long as they are on COBRA. Once that ends, they are then enrolled in the state's medical insurance pool.

People still have copays, but that is usually better than having no health care coverage.

We also have a program that will help pay for some prescription copays, most notably the HIV med, prophylaxes medications related to HIV care and some others.

I don't understand why other states don't do this. It is cost effective. In fact, it saves money.

HUGS,

Mark
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline PeteNYNJ

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2009, 07:58:41 PM »
Azetecan

I think they do the same in my state (NJ) but trying to find info on how to apply is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  I am trying to make an appointment with a case manager here in NJ but that has been a challenge as well.

In the meantime, my lovely grandaunt has volunteered to pay for my Cobra payments.  She knows nothing about my status (she is 85 with dementia - I will spare her the worry). 

In the meanwhile - I felt good today when I noticed my insurance company had to pay about 1500 for my medication this month, about time they paid for something!   

Offline Assurbanipal

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2009, 08:40:50 PM »
Pete

Hyacinth is the largest of the NJ ASO's and most people I've talked to have had good response from them -- so it the current one is not working...

(unless it is them  ::)  )
5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

Offline PeteNYNJ

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2009, 08:43:50 PM »
I live in Bergen County and Hyacinth doesnt have case management in Bergen.  I got a referrel through them - two, but I can't seem to get a hold of either of them ( I have left numerous messages).  Bully on me for not going when I lived in Hudson County a few months ago.

Online Miss Philicia

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2009, 09:19:53 PM »
After losing my job in 2002 the state of Louisiana paid my COBRA until SSD/Medicare kicked in 18 (or was it 24?) months later.  The quite logical rationale is it's cheaper to pay COBRA than to have me on Medicaid.  I can't believe other states don't follow the same practice.   Louisiana is not known for its progressive policies.

They do this in New York state too.  I'm not sure what Pennsylvania does in this regard, as I've not had to personally use something like that.

However, it took me long time to get informed of this when I was in New York and I paid COBRA for quite some time out of pocket.  Or rather, Mommie and Daddy sent me the money.

Pete, as far as the needle in a haystack if you're not getting call backs you need to just go the ASO office and fake a nervous breakdown in the lobby... I did this at GMHC with lots of nervous shaking and crying and they raised me up above the large tier of volunteers to a paid staff member in about five minutes.  It was beautiful.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline mikejh

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2009, 07:09:44 AM »
Hi Miss Philicia
I live in New York and lost my insurance October 31 and have Cobra from November 1, Have until December 31 to pay for Nov and Dec. $1200.00 Where in NY can I try to get help to have my payment subsidized.
mike
CD4   %
22 Sep 06   37     5  Started Atripla
5   Oct 06   82     9
1   Dec 06  258   13
25 Jan  07  263   14
1   May 07  403   18
6   Aug 07  438   22
7   Nov 07  417   19
30 jan   08  310   19
7   May  08  285   20
6   Aug  08  472   27
12  Nov 08  444   26
11  Feb  09 335    19
10  May  09  460  25

Offline Inchlingblue

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2009, 11:34:11 AM »
Hi Miss Philicia
I live in New York and lost my insurance October 31 and have Cobra from November 1, Have until December 31 to pay for Nov and Dec. $1200.00 Where in NY can I try to get help to have my payment subsidized.
mike

It seems you are eligible for the Obama stimulus plan's COBRA subsidy, based on the date of termination. I think you probably need to speak to your employer.

Eligible Employees Who Lost Job Only Pay 35% of COBRA Health Insurance Premium Payments

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 expanded eligibility for COBRA and provides a premium reduction to certain qualified individuals who lost their job on or after September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1986 is a health benefit allowing qualified terminated employees to continue their health care coverage until they find another job that provides employer sponsored health insurance.

Under Obama's Stimulus Package, you may be eligible for a 65% reduction in COBRA premiums as soon as March 1, 2009. Your employer should notify you if you are eligible for COBRA and if you are eligible to receive the premium reduction. If your employer does not inform you about the COBRA premium reduction, contact one of the sources at the end of this article. If you are already on COBRA, you will not receive a reduction for premiums already paid, but you can apply for reductions in the remaining COBRA payments you will make after March 1, 2009.


Continued . . .

LINK:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1508773/obama_stimulus_package_65_cobra_premium.html?cat=3


IMPORTANT NOTE: I have heard of cases where people are dropped from their COBRA coverage if they pay even one day late. This is a great excuse for them to drop someone who has a chronic condition so make sure you are not late in your payments. I don't think they even send a bill, so stay on top of it.

Online Miss Philicia

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2009, 11:46:19 AM »
mikejh, if I were you I'd go to GMHC in Chelsea and immediately register as a client.  There are certain hours to do this so read this: http://www.gmhc.org/get-support/get-connected/become-a-client

Then I think you'll get sent up to Client Advocacy so they can make sure you're getting whatever benefits you qualify for: http://www.gmhc.org/get-support/navigate-the-system/client-advocacy

The specific program I was referring to is called AHIP, or AIDS Health Insurance Program: http://www.gmhc.org/get-support/stay-healthy/benefits-and-entitlements
Quote
AIDS Health Insurance Program (AHIP)
Medicaidís AHIP Program pays health insurance premiums for people with HIV/AIDS who are not eligible for Medicaid (if you have Medicaid and health insurance, Medicaid will pay the health insurance premium for you). AHIP does not provide any other service. This year, an individual is allowed to have gross income of up to $1,670 (185%) of the federal poverty level) and a family of two is allowed up to $2,247 (level changes mid-March each year). Resources are not counted for this program but the interest that the resources generate will be prorated over 12 months and added to what you report as your monthly income. If your income is wages from work, AHIP will look at the gross (before taxes) amount. There is a $20 disregard on all income for this program. Click here to download the full PDF fact sheet.

note: because this Obama thingie was not obviously around when I had to use this program seven years ago I'm not sure how they work together.  I guess when the Obama subsidy runs out you'd qualify for AHIP, but you'd also have to then go on Medicaid I believe?  But the bottom line is that when your financial situation changes from being laid off from work, you really should be conferring with a case manager because there are so many specifics.  Oh and mikejh I see from your first post that you have a documented AIDS diagnosis and that might also immediately qualify you for HASA, the HIV/AIDS Service Administration housing/rent assistance should you feel you need that.  It's on that last link up above.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2009, 11:48:11 AM by Miss Philicia »
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline Assurbanipal

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2009, 08:55:21 PM »
The House passed a 6 month COBRA subsidy extension today as part of the Jobs for Main Street Act.  Details are available at the House Ed and Labor Committee website http://edlabor.house.gov/blog/2009/12/jobs-for-main-street-act.shtml

But the Senate is not likely to take the jobs bill up anytime soon, so the House was also going to put a  2 month extension on the Defense Appropriation bill.


5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

Online Miss Philicia

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2009, 01:17:40 PM »
There's an article on this in today's New York Times.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline Assurbanipal

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2009, 03:41:11 PM »
But the Senate is not likely to take the jobs bill up anytime soon, so the House was also going to put a  2 month extension on the Defense Appropriation bill.

There has been some clarification on what passed the House last night in today's press reports:

The Jobs bill would extend the current 9 month subsidy that covers you (Pete) to up to 15 months -- so another 6 months.  It would also cover people who lose jobs up until the end of une 2010 -- also another 6 months.  This bill still isn't given much chance of passing soon.

The Defense authorizations bill would also extend the 9 months to 15 months (6 months) -- but it would only cover people who lose jobs through February -- the two month extension referred to above.  This bill is getting good odds of passage in the Senate.  But it wouldn't hurt to give Menendez and Lautenberg a call.
5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

Offline nyc_ev

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Re: Cobra Payments - Will subsidized payments be extended?
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2009, 09:56:26 PM »
Looks like the Cobra subsidized payments were extended.... from the COBRA management site:

Update: December 21, 2009

Legislation extending the ARRA COBRA premium subsidy program has passed both the House and the Senate and was signed by President Obama on December 21, 2009. What does this mean for COBRA participants who qualify as ďAssistance Eligible Individuals?Ē

Extended eligibility period to 2/28/2010

The subsidy program now covers individuals becoming eligible for COBRA due to involuntary employment termination on or before Feb. 28, 2010. It is unclear whether an individual who is involuntarily terminated in February, 2010 and becomes eligible for COBRA continuation coverage March 1, 2010, will be eligible for the subsidy.

Longer subsidy period from nine to fifteen months

The subsidy period for assistance-eligible individuals (AEIs) Ė including anyone now receiving the subsidy Ė may last for up to 15 months instead of just nine months.

Subsidy Amount and Involuntary Terminations Ė stays at 65%

The subsidy amount remains at 65 percent, and eligibility is still limited to people losing health coverage due to involuntary employment terminations.

AEIs with exhausted subsidy periods 

Individuals who exhausted their nine-month subsidy period as of November 30, 2009 could receive the subsidy for another six months.  Individuals who dropped COBRA after their subsidy expired may retroactively elect COBRA back to December 1, 2009. These individuals must pay 35% of the full premium costs no later than 60 days after the date of enactment. Coverage will not be reinstated until payment is received.

Anyone who continued COBRA and made higher premium payments after exhausting the subsidy would be reimbursed for the excess payments or given credits toward future premium payments.


I also did some Googlin' and seems like it's true:
http://www.dcemploymentlawupdate.com/2009/12/articles/employee-benefits/cobra-subsidy-extension/

7/09 diagnosed HIV+
7/09 CD4 368,   VL 62,103,   CD4% 23%
9/09 CD4 459,   VL 260,000, CD4% 25%
10/09 started Atripla
12/09 CD4 557, VL 5,000,   CD4% 26%
2/10   CD4 592,    VL 84,    CD4% 26%
11/10 CD4 607,  VL UD
12/10 switched to Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

 


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