Skip First Level Navigation | Skip All Navigation
|Home | Contact Us | Careers | Calendar|
Bureau of Insurance
OTHER PFR AGENCIES
Maine.gov > PFR Home > Insurance Regulation > All Press Releases > Bureau of Insurance Highlights Health Insurance Subsidy for Some Displaced Workers
Augusta, Maine -
Superintendent of Insurance Mila Kofman reminded Mainers about legislation passed and signed into law that enables more workers who have temporarily lost their jobs since September 1, 2008, to apply for a federal insurance premium subsidy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Under a provision of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), workers who lose their jobs, and thus their health benefits, have the right under federal law to continue their group health coverage through their former employer under certain circumstances. COBRA applies to employers with 20 or more employees. Maine has had a “mini-COBRA” law for some time that applies to employers with fewer than 20 employees and provides similar protections. The Maine law applies to workers temporarily laid off or those who lost employment because of an injury or disease for which they are claiming workers’ compensation benefits.
The Federal Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides a subsidy covering 65 percent of the premium for COBRA or mini-COBRA benefits for those with incomes of less than $125,000 (or $250,000 for married couples filing a joint federal income tax return) who are involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009. Help is also available for some qualified workers with higher incomes.
Some Mainers who became eligible for mini-COBRA after September 1, 2008 — but before the Federal Recovery and Reinvestment Act subsidy was available — may have declined the coverage (or may have accepted it and later dropped it) because of the cost. The new Maine law allows those people a second chance to enroll in mini-COBRA and take advantage of the federal premium subsidy.
“We want workers who lost their jobs to know that as a result of this emergency legislation passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Baldacci, substantial help may be available. The federal subsidy of 65 percent could help many Maine families,” Superintendent Kofman stated.
Superintendent Kofman emphasized that those who might benefit from the new law should soon receive a notice from their former insurer. She also indicated that more information is available on the Bureau of Insurance Web site at www.maine.gov/insurance or by calling toll-free 1-800-300-5000.
The bill LD 1180, which was enacted by the Maine Legislature as an emergency measure, was sponsored by Representative Sharon Treat (D-Hallowell). The Governor signed the measure into law on June 3.
For more information about COBRA coverage and the federal premium assistance program for COBRA and mini-COBRA enrollees, visit the Federal Department of Labor Web site at: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/cobra.html
The Federal Department of Labor is hosting a seminar in Portland on the COBRA provisions in the Recovery Act on June 29. For more information and to register, visit http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/COBRAARRAME.pdf
The Bureau of Insurance is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation which encourages sound ethical business practices through high quality, impartial and efficient regulation of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations for the purpose of protecting the citizens of Maine. Consumers can reach the Bureau through its web site at www.maine.gov/insurance; by calling 800-300-5000 in state; or by writing to Bureau of Insurance, 34 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333.
Last Updated: October 28, 2009 1:29 PM
|Copyright © 2006 All rights reserved.|