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Healthcare: A Happier Holiday

A little holiday spirit for health care coverage: congress has passed legislation to extend government subsidies for people paying for health insurance under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, also known as COBRA. With the California unemployment rate hitting 12.3% (national average is 10%) many people opt to stay on their former employer’s health insurance coverage while they look for a new job. This can be pricey, but government subsidies approved with the February stimulus package have helped people retain health care coverage during tough economic times.

Now those laid off in Jan/Feb 2010 will still be able to apply for the subsidies, which cover 65% of insurance costs — initially, assistance was only available for those laid off during 2009. New legislation also extends length of subsidies by six additional months, from 9 to 15, those who opt to stay on their former employer’s health insurance coverage can continue to have more affordable health care coverage. These subsidies are vital not only for those who find themselves between jobs, but for folks who find work and have to undergo a waiting period before qualifying for benefits.

The support these subsides provide are invaluable in protecting the health and wellness of the community; if healthcare reform continues forward many people may not feel the effects for several years. For those without medical insurance, St. Anthony Free Medical Clinic provides primary care and specialty care services free of charge. As the healthcare system evolves, St. Anthony Free Medical Clinic will continue to offer medical services to those in our community who might otherwise go without.

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