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Under the new economic stimulus plan, the federal government will subsidize 65% of the cost of health insurance under COBRA for workers who have lost or may lose their jobs between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009. The stimulus package was signed into law on February 17.

COBRA, or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, allows individuals who have been laid off to stay on employer-based health plans for up to 18 months after termination. Individuals who elect COBRA coverage must pay the share of the premium that they paid while working, as well as their employer’s share plus a 2% administrative charge. COBRA, for most, is too expensive and individuals usually elect to go without health insurance or buy an individual health insurance plan through a private health insurance carrier.

COBRA’s revision under the economic stimulus plan only allows individuals to stay on COBRA up to 9 months. So, what happens in 9 months when you no longer can benefit from COBRA coverage and your new job, if any, doesn’t provide employer based coverage? Individual health insurance plans from private health insurance brokers or carriers, such as Health Plan One, can help in providing affordable health insurance.

High deductible plans offer low premiums and work best for healthy people who don’t go to the doctor that often. Now why would you need insurance if you’re healthy? One reason, life is unpredictable. Sudden illnesses can occur as well as tragic accidents and there is no better way to prepare for what may or may not happen with a health insurance plan.

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