Unemployed in Massachusetts to Receive Health Insurance via Stimulus

It looks like health insurance will not evade unemployed individuals in the state of Massachusetts. As part of an effort to increase benefits to all individuals, whether employed or unemployed, the federal stimulus money distributed to the state will be partially dedicated to offering health coverage. The plan was made in an effort to address the growing unemployment numbers, rising foreclosure rates and deteriorating economy.

Whats the Plan for Health Insurance?

With the help of an existing state program, and federal stimulus dollars that are being distributed to Massachusetts, the state has decided to cut the cost of the federal COBRA program to as low as $70 per month. This low-cost coverage will be able to insure most individuals and may be able to insure families as well. The cost deductions will equal as much as a 65% discount for many.

How Will the Stimulus Revive Health Care?

The way the plan will work is by allowing individuals who have been laid off the option of extending their health insurance for up to one year under their COBRA plan. However, each individual must meet three standards in order to qualify:

  • You must be laid off. One qualifying stipulation is that you were laid off from your job. You cannot have been fired or quit, and your layoff must have occurred after September 1, 2008.
  • Your employer must still offer insurance. Another stipulation for qualification is that your employer is still funding group insurance for employees at the time that you apply.
  • Your income must be below $145,000. If you are a single applicant, your income must fall under $145,000. If you are a joint filer, your combined income cannot exceed $290,000.

With Massachusetts taking this step to improve health care options for individuals without employment, it may be a matter of time before other states follow suit.