As part of the economic stimulus package passed by Congress, the federal government is going to step in and pay some of your health insurance premium if you were recently laid off from a job that is covered by COBRA.
Companies with at least 20 employees are required to offer health insurance for up to 18 months to former employees. The way it works though is that the ex-employee must pay 100 percent of the entire premium bill and often can also be hit with a 2 percent administrative fee. That makes staying on your ex-employer's plan financially tough. Under the new economic stimulus legislation, your employer will pick up 65 percent of the cost for the first nine months that you use COBRA coverage, leaving you to cover a more manageable 35 percent. (Your employer will then be able to recoup its cost through tax credits.) Employers and employees can learn more at the Department of Labor's website.

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