On June 1st, COBRA subsidies expired, meaning newly unemployed individuals can no longer be eligible to receive a 65% deduction on their current health care plan if they chose to keep it after becoming unemployed. For example, let’s say John Q was laid off on January 1st, 2010. COBRA allows John to continue his health-care plan for up-to 18 months following his termination, so long as he pays 100% of the plan costs. Now, most unemployed individuals cannot afford to pay 100% of their health-care insurance making COBRA a somewhat unaffordable solution however the government passed a subsidy in 2009, which paid for 65% of health care premiums for unemployed individuals for up-to 15 months. So if John Q had a $1,000 a month premium, he would only have to pay $350 to remain insured. Sweet Deal.
Unfortunately, after a few extensions, it is no longer a reality. Any newly unemployed individual as of June 1st 2010 still insured through their old place of employment will be require to foot 100% of the bill. Obama and members of Congress were hoping to extend this subsidy well beyond June, possibly to December, however the bill never made it to vote. It would appear that discounted medical insurance for newly unemployed workers has become a dead issue.
Now, Obama is asking Congress to pass an “emergency” $50 billion aid package, to be distributed to local and state governments, for the continued employment of teachers, police officers and firefighters. The current unemployment rate is 9.7%, which is just about where it was a year ago and without this aid, it most certainly will begin to climb. The possibility of our economy being worse-off than it was a year ago seems odd considering how much money has been thrown into this problem but it’s looking more and more like a feared reality.
Should another $50 billion be given to retain jobs that could be lost? Seems like there is a bigger problem at hand here in that every time there’s a problem, the only solution is to fix it with money. The United States ran out of money a long time ago, so what now? Feel free to express your feelings on the issue in the comments section below.
Now let’s take a look at the best money articles from this past week.
Handling a Major Oil Spill in Your Own Life @ US News: With BP struggling to find ways to end this oil spill once and for all, there are lessons that can be learned. Apply what you’ve seen to your own life, preventing major financial spills in the future.
Paper Currency Certainly Isn’t What It Used To Be @ Personal Finance By the Book: There’s going to come a time very soon when cash is no longer a way of life. Read up on how cash has evolved in the last 250 years and where it could be headed next.
Life is Like a Budget? @ Enemy of Debt: If you sat down every morning and budgeted your time for the entire week, how accurate do you think you could make it? The more hectic the life, the more difficult the budget and so is true with your financial life.
The Unexpected Downside of Short Selling Your Home @ Debt Kid: With all of the expected downsides, it’s difficult to find one you may not be anticipating but if you read this article, you may be surprised learn of one you haven’t thought of.
Seven Habits of Financially Healthy Couples @ Money Smart Life: I was expecting all seven of them to be compromise but it seems that there are six other habits. Huh.
Workplace Discrimination or Harrassment? Fired For Being to Pretty @ The Digerati Life: A woman claims to have been fired from her job at Citibank because she was too pretty. What will they think of next!
4 Skills That Employers Are Looking For In Any Job Market @ Money Crashers: The long you’re on the hunt for a job, the more stressful it can become so make sure your resume includes these four skills no matter what you’re applying for.
Published or updated December 6, 2011.