More uninsured likely as COBRA subsidy expires

Today is a difficult day for many Americans who have been laid off but were maintaining health coverage through their employers. This is the last day, at least for now, that the federal government will subsidize COBRA premiums.

Under a $25 billion program kicked off by the stimulus package, the federal government has been covering 65 percent of premiums for people who access COBRA coverage. COBRA premiums are unaffordable for many Americans without subsidies, as they average $1,069 per month, observers say.

Congress is considering legislation that would extend the subsidy to 15 months (it's currently limited to six). And some Senate Democrats want to push the expiration date to next June and increase the subsidy to 75 percent. However, it's not clear when these measures will come to a vote.

To get more background on this issue:
- read this Sacramento Bee piece

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