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Sign-up window for free COBRA coverage for many laid-off workers closes this week

Michelle Andrews, Kaiser Health News on

Published in Business News

But as de Pompignan’s experience illustrates, some people slipped through the cracks.

With her employer subsidy running out in June, de Pompignan called the service center at Trion Group to find out what her coverage options were. The representative who answered the phone suggested de Pompignan look into marketplace plans.

After de Pompignan saw the news story about the COBRA subsidy, she contacted her former employer to ask if she was eligible. The answer was yes, she likely was. It was only then that she received the paperwork.

De Pompignan, who paid her portion of the COBRA premium for April, May and June, said she’s been assured she’ll be reimbursed.

Because de Pompignan’s job loss was initially incorrectly coded as “voluntary” by her employer, Infineum, “[it] caused the Trion system to exclude her from communications regarding the federal subsidy,” according to Hedy DiSimoni, the human resources benefits and payroll leader at Infineum. De Pompignan will receive a refund for the first three months of premiums she paid before being notified, DiSimoni said.

Once the subsidy ends in September, de Pompignan said, she’s not sure what her family will do if she and her husband are still unemployed.

 

They could continue their COBRA coverage, paying the full premium. They’ll also have an opportunity to sign up for coverage on the state marketplace, under a special enrollment period.

For some people, marketplace coverage may be a better option.

Anyone who received unemployment insurance benefits for even one week this year can receive a silver-level plan without premiums and with cost-sharing assistance, which could dramatically reduce their out-of-pocket costs, said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at the Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms.

“It’ll probably have a lower deductible than a COBRA plan, and it doesn’t turn off after September,” Corlette said.

©2021 Kaiser Health News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.